OTMJ 5.2.24

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Outdoor Rooms to View

photo by
Maury Wald Cherished antiques, like this white terra-cotta urn from the Galloway Foundry in Philadelphia, adorn the outdoor rooms at interior decorator Mary Finch’s Redmont home. Her garden, with its views, structure and sculpture, is just one of four private Birmingham-area gardens that will be open for rare tours during the Garden Conservancy Open Days program Saturday. See feature on page 22.
INSIDE Mother’s Day Gift Guide


Cancer survivor who went from death sentence to lifeline participates in upcoming Motherwalk PAGE 8


James Beard Winner’s new restaurant is set to make a splash PAGE 26


Shop local for the perfect gift for Mom and make everybody happy! PAGE 9


Homewood High, other OTM schools rank in U.S. News & World Report’s Best List PAGE 28

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.


Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald

Copy Editor: Virginia Martin

Features Writer: Donna Cornelius

Staff Writers: June Mathews, Anne Ruisi

Photographer: Jordan Wald

Sports Editor: Rubin E. Grant

Contributors: Evelyn Byrne, Solomon Crenshaw Jr., Madoline Markham Koonce, Susan Swagler

Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Gail Kidd

Vol. 34, No.

Learning to Drive

When I was a teenager, turning 15 meant a summer of learning how to drive a car. Yes, they had already invented cars way back then. Some places called it Drivers Education and some called it Drivers Training. I don’t even think it was optional whether to take it. Here’s how it worked.

The “trainers” were almost always school teachers who could earn a little extra money by placing their lives in the hands of rookie teenage drivers for six weeks. Four students would get into a car with a big sign on top that clearly said STUDENT DRIVER. People who already knew how to drive usually gave us a wide birth. A wise choice, I might add. One of us would get behind the wheel while the teacher rode in the passenger seat. For some reason, his side of the car also had a brake pedal. Go figure.

My team never hit anyone and I seem to recall we all passed.

The very first day, after pointing out all the dials, pedals, etc., he would make us drive in downtown Grand Rapids. This scared us half to death because it meant lots of cars, stoplights, noises and crosswalks. People in crosswalks always sped up when they saw us coming or waited until we were nowhere in sight. You would think they would have some faith in 15-year-olds on their first day of driving. After we all took turns giving our instructor gray hairs, we would come back to the school parking lot, go inside and learn rules of the road and take tests. They would also show the occasional movie where teenagers had crashed cars, killing themselves and others. Some of these were unnecessarily graphic, but I guess they made their point since I still remember some scenes.

My team never hit anyone and I seem to recall we all passed. That meant we could get our learner’s permit and drive our parents crazy for a year. I was the youngest of three kids in our family, so my parents were already experienced in this rite of passage. Here is how my “homeschooling” of driving unfolded.

I was 14 and on a dirt country road with my dad. The road was very straight and I understand why. My dad put the car in park, turned it off and handed the keys to me. Sitting on a phone book, I went to start the car and he said, “Not so fast.”

Over the Mountain Views

Next, he said, “You are about to be in charge of 4,000 pounds of steel traveling down a road at up to 70 mph. Others will be on the same road. Are you ready for the responsibility?”

Gulp. Sweat may have appeared on my brow. For the record, it is harder to steer on a gravel dirt road than a paved road. I may have swerved a little. Good thing we never saw another car. My dad chose this road for a reason. When it came time for Drivers Ed class the next year, I was already pretty competent. I hope they still teach the concept of driving defensively. In other words, good drivers are often killed by bad drivers. Keep your head on a swivel when driving. My dad even had a poem he taught each of us about driving defensively.

Here lies the body of William Gray. He died maintaining the right of way. He was right, dead right, as he rolled along.

But, he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong.

When my 16th birthday came along, I went to the DMV to do my test drive and take the written exam. I aced the exam, not so much the test drive. The DMV was next to an alley. You pulled into the alley to park in back. I did great driving around the area, including a three-point turn and parallel parking. The alley, which was really skinny, proved a challenge. I turned into it, oversteered to the right and kind of hit the DMV building with my dad’s Oldsmobile. The officer looked at me, looked down while rubbing his eyes and said, “Just park in back.” I thought he might be considering a change of career at that point, but he actually passed me and said something like, “Try not to hit any more buildings.”

Kids these days are waiting longer to get their licenses. In my case, another year or two of brain development would not have been a bad thing. This delay does mean that mom and dad continue to chauffeur longer. A positive is that they probably sleep better at night knowing their 16-year-old is not out and about with the family car running into brick DMV buildings.

P.S. If you don’t like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk.

Firetrucks Draw

Crowds During Mountain Brook Citizen Appreciation Day

Mountain Brook employees pitched in to entertain local families on the lawn at City Hall on April 27, Citizen Appreciation Day. Every half hour, pumper trucks from the Mountain Brook Fire Department sprayed water in the air to delight, and soak, the children, who also had a Kid’s Zone, petting zoo and face painting to entertain them. They also could play on the trucks during the Touch-a-Truck event.

Lunch was served and the Mountain Brook Jazz Band performed for those with more sophisticated tastes. City employees organize the event each year to recognize the citizens they serve. Left, Mary Carlisle Hamm, Bailey, Kate and Sarah Claire Ballard. Right, Courtney and Everett Rivers.

edited or declined without notification.

14 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,
editorial department
our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2024 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
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the
Guest Column
RANDY ADAMY Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Lucille Wrap Dress Pink Hydrangea $398
Paige Clutch Wicker $198
Assorted Jewelry

Celebrating Mothers in May

Give your mom the gift of longevity through preventative fitness training with Graceful Aging

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Thurs., May 2

Coastal Conservation Association

Crawfish Fest

Dig into a Cajun buffet from Crazy Cajuns, listen to live music from Rollin In The Hay and try your luck in a raffle and bid on items in huge silent auction at this benefit event. When: 5:30-9 p.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo

May 2-4

Homewood Friends Bookstore

The Friends of the Homewood Library is holding a super $7 bag sale – get a bag of books for $7! When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Homewood Library, in the Friends of the Library Bookstore

Fri., May 3

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony

Joined by guest soloist Sara Davis Buechner on piano, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra performs Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at this morning concert. When: 11 a.m. Where: Alys Stephens Center

May 3-5

Finding Nemo Jr.

Children are the stars of the show in this production of “Finding Nemo Jr.” When: Various showtimes Where: Red Mountain Theatre

Sat., May 4

Garden Art Party

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama is the beneficiary of the Garden Art Party. The event will include live and silent auctions. Every dollar raised will be spent in Alabama to help people living with dementia and their families. When: 7 p.m. Where: Haven

We Love Homewood Day

A full day of events, including a 5K race, fun run, chalk art festival, parade, festival and street dance, are planned as Homewood celebrates the city they love best. When: 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Where: Most activities will be at Homewood Central Park, the street dance will be in Edgewood.

May the 4th Family Sci Fi Day

Wear your favorite Star Wars costume to celebrate the blockbuster science fiction franchise on this annual informal holiday observed by fans. When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: McWane Center

Art in the Lot

Trinity Studio at Trinity United Methodist Church presents its semiannual event, Art in the Lot. More than 80 artisans will be on hand displaying a diverse range of mediums, including painting, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry, fiber works and much more. When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: Trinity UMC

Steps Against Melanoma Walk

The AIM at Melanoma Foundation will hold its 3rd Annual Steps Against


Come party with us on the Trails of Africa at this outdoor celebration with music, animal encounters, small bites from area restaurants, beer, wine, specialty cocktails and a silent auction! This fundraiser will benefit Carlito’s Casa, the giant anteater’s habitat. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo

Melanoma Run/Walk to raise funds to end skin cancer. When: 8 a.m. Where: Veterans Park

Art in the Village Shop the works of more than 55 Mountain Brook Art Association artists at this annual event. Many of the artists are award winners and well-known regionally. High quality fine art paintings and drawings will be available for sale. When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Mountain Brook City Hall

Birmingham Folk Fest

Bring the family out to this free outdoor festival featuring a full day of music from communities around Birmingham. Bluegrass, gospel and Americana are some of the musical traditions that will be shared, along with contra dancing and poetry among other events and activities. When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Where: Avondale Amphitheater

Sun., May 5

Ammon Yom Hashoah Commemoration

Honor the memory of the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust and hear personal stories and experiences of local survivors and liberators. This event also will honor the memory of the Amnon Weinstein, who founded Violins of Hope, a collection of instruments owned by Jews before and during the Holocaust. When: 3:30 p.m. Where: Harrison Theatre at Samford University

Darter Festival

Join the Southern Environmental Center for the 11th annual Darter Festival. Live music, food and drinks, and kids’ activities will be on hand for an afternoon of fun. When: Noon5 p.m. Where: Avondale Brewing Company

Top Shelf: Cinco de Mayo Tequila! Learn more about tequila from an expert on Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of the Mexican Army’s astonishing victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: Hoover Library

Larry and Phyllis Wojciechowski and Teresa and Chris Pfefferkorn at last year’s event.

Tues., May 7

Hoover Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Auburn University head football coach Hugh Freeze will be the guest speaker at the annual prayer breakfast hosted by Hoover Mayor Frank V. Brocato When: 7:30-9 a.m. Where: Hyatt Regency Ballroom at the Galleria

Rosé in the Roses BBG

Enjoy a glass of rosé provided by Finch Fine Wines and celebrate the roses in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens by joining us for this festive fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Junior Board. When: 5:30-7 p.m. Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

May 8-12

Regions Tradition Golf Tournament

PGA greats like Vijay Singh, Mike Weir and Jim Furyk are among the pros to be featured when the Regions Tradition Golf Tournament returns to Birmingham. Celebrities like Charles Barkley, Nick Saban and Condoleezza Rice will also be on hand for the popular sports event. When: Gates open May 8 at 7 a.m., other days at 8 a.m., with play at various times. Where: Greystone Golf & Country Club

Thurs., May 9

Ascension Food Truck Festival

Take your pick of delicious meals from among the several food trucks that will be at the Ascension Food Truck Festival in Vestavia Hills. This family-friendly event also will include face painting and balloon animals for the kids and music. When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Where: Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Sat., May 11

Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast, Garage Sale

Get a good start to the day with a plate of pancakes and support Boy

MAY 2 - MAY 16 cookmuseum.org
Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

The Best Gift

You Can Give Your Student

Whether you’re in college, or about to enter college, this book is for you.

College is one of the most exciting and meaningful times in life. You will make new friends, many of whom will last a lifetime. You will experience new freedoms: no curfews, no chores, or asking your parents for permission to go places. However, for all the exciting things college offers, I’m sure you’re also wrestling with some big questions—perhaps even some fear or anxiety. Who am I? Will I succeed academically? What do I really believe?

College with No Regrets: Wisdom for the Journey seeks to answer those questions. There are six sections - Wisdom for The Journey, Living an Exceptional Life, What Is True Freedom? Principles to Follow, Human Sexuality, Care of the Soul and concludes with Our Ultimate Good.

My hope is that this book will make you wiser and equip you to better navigate your own journey through the college experience.

—Richard E. Simmons III

III Wisdom for the Journey COLLEGE WITH NO REGRETS Available online at richardesimmons3.com and Amazon, and locally at Seibels in Homewood.

Scout Troop 97 at Trinity United Methodist Church. After you fill up, head to the church’s fellowship hall and gym and pick through the treasures at the garage sale. There’s also a silent auction planned. When: 7 a.m.-Noon Where: Trinity UMC

Tues., May 14

Birmingham Boys Choir Concert

The choir will present its 46th annual Spring Concert. This free event will feature a performance by the choir, which is now in its 51st year. When: 7 p.m. Where: Metropolitan Church of God

Thurs., May 16

The Purple Zeros’ 30th Anniversary Reunion for Missions

The Overseas Initiative (TOI) is a Birmingham ministry founded in 2022 by local pastor and author George Shamblin and his brother Keith. TOI’s goal is to empower Christians so they can become beacons of hope and opportunity across Cuba. After 30 years, The Purple Zeros are getting together to play all your favorite covers from Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin, Prince, and more. When: 7 p.m. Where: Saturn Birmingham

May 17-18

Hoover Library Book Sale

The Friends of the Hoover Library will hold a book sale where you can find great deals on used books and

media. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted. When: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on May 17, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on May 18. Where: Hoover Library

Sat., May 18

Vestavia Hills Summer Reading Kickoff

Adventure Begins at the library this summer as we kick off the Summer Reading program with a party at Wald Park! We will have a performer on the stage from 11 a.m.-Noon and Roger Day will perform from Noon-1 p.m. Bubble play, an adventure maze, donuts, hot dogs, balloon animals and more will be on hand. When: 11 a.m.1 p.m. Where: Wald Park

Easterseals Golf Tournament

Play a round of golf for a good cause at the Easterseals Golf Tournament. The event benefits Easterseals Alabama, which has led the way to full equity, inclusion and access by enriching education, enhancing health, expanding employment and elevating community. When: Check in at Noon, shotgun start at 2 p.m. Where: Highland Park Golf Course

Sun., May 19

Summer Reading Carnival Kickoff

Children and their grownups are invited to walk, run, bike, scoot, skate and stroll the 1-mile Thomas Hughes Brinkley Memorial Fun Run course that starts in front of the library and runs through the adjacent neighborhood.

Stay for the carnival, which will feature a train ride, face painting, game booths, a rock-climbing wall and a bouncy house. When: Fun Run at 3 p.m., carnival from 3:30-5 p.m. Where: O’Neal Library

Fri., May 24

Hoover Library Summer Reading

Kick off summer reading with carnival fun throughout the Hoover Library! There will be games, crafts and snacks to enjoy, plus special guest Doc Magic will perform a mini-show every 30 minutes. When: 1-4 p.m. Where: Hoover Library

Thur., May 30

S’mores & Pours

The Junior Board of BridgeWays invites you to feel the vibes of a bohochic wonderland and say hello to summer with a delicious feast from Taco Mama, a selection of Avondale’s finest brews, s’mores (of course!), cool pop-up shops, local artists, and live music from T.U.B – The UnKnamed Band. The mission of BridgeWays is to teach young people the core values of kindness, caring, and respect for every individual’s intrinsic value as a human being — including themselves. When: 5 - 9:30 p.m. Where: Avondale Brewery

Glenn, Eva Noojin, Lily Lott, Alice Loveman and Laura Spann.

Celebrating 89 Years of Dance

Steeple Arts Academy of Dance will celebrate it’s 89th Anniversary as “The Dance Center of Mountain Brook” by presenting students in a Gala Performance “Happy Seasons”, on Sunday May 5th, at Samford University’s Wright Center. This year’s production is designed by Steeple Arts Director Deanny Coates Hardy to showcase the dancers in an eighty minute performance. Choreography was created by Hardy, as well as instructors Annette Troxell-Collins, Bee Lewis and Tricia Brice.

Assistants to the director include Bee Lewis, Kathy Nolan and Sanford Hardy.

Assistant Instructors are Sanford Hardy, Kelly Ireland, Mitzi Ireland, Kathy Nolan, Ann Nelson and Lucy Spann.

Advanced students Emmeline Glenn, Lily Lott, Alice Loveman, Eva Noojin, Laura Spann and Mary Spann will be highlighted in the Performance.

The Steeple Arts 2023-2024 Season marks 64 years of the Academy being located at 36 Church Street in Crestline Village and it’s 89th year of providing instruction in the art of dance to children of all ages and ability.

For more information visit steepleartsdance.com

SEND ABOUT TOWN INFO TO: EDITORIAL@OTMJ.COM 6 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN Call for a free in home design consultation and estimate 205-551-9061 www.closetsbydesign.com Call for a free in home design consultation and estimate 1-888-500-9230 closetsbydesign.com Locally owned and operated! 2024 All Rights Reserved. Closets by Design, Inc. Closets byDesign® Imagine your home, totally organized! Custom Closets Garage Cabinets Home Offices Wall Beds Pantries Laundries Wall Units Hobby Rooms Garage Flooring Media Centers OTMJ 40% Off Plus Free Installation Terms and Conditions: 40% off any order of $1000 or more or 30% off any order of $700-$1000 on any complete unit order of custom closet, garage, or home office, and any other products. Take an additional 15% off on any complete unit order. Not valid with any other offer. Free installation with any unit order of $850 or more. With incoming order, at time of purchase only. Expires 3/10/24. Offer not valid in all regions. SPECIAL FINANCING FOR 18 MONTHS! With approved credit. Call or ask your Designer for details. Not available in all areas. Follow us AN EXTRA PLUS TAKE 15% Off Locally Owned and Operated. Licensed and Insured.
From left, front: Margaret Spann, Caroline Botts, Maddie Rush, Eleanor Tolbert, Lilly Tolbert, Vera Mosley, Allie Akin, Lucy London Higginbotham, Seraphina Coshatt and Nell Fuerniss. Second row: Margot McCrary, Katherine Baker, Lelia Mosley and Irby Connor. Third, Ann Everett Pruet, Margaret-Flynt Connor, Charlotte Chambliss and Lilly Hudson. Fourth: Mary Spann, Emmeline Photo by Bee Lewis
Thursday, May 2, 2024 • 7 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN *Offers cannot be combined, some promotions may be limited to select sets. Not responsible for errors in ad copy. Quantities and selections may vary by location. Mattress images are for illustration purposes only Gifts with purchase (including gift cards and rebates) are not valid with any other promotions except special financing for 6 or 12 months.** Monthly payment is based on purchase price alone excluding tax and delivery charges. Credit purchases subject to credit approval. Other transactions may affect the monthly payment. *** 60 month financing is subject to approved credit *** The Nationwide Marketing Group credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 5/1/2024 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 6/3/2024. **** Free base offer applies to Queen set purchase of $799 and above or King set purchase $999 and above. King base applies to either one horizontal King Base or one of two TXL bases.***** Free Delivery on mattresses $999 and up, Local area. $20 Mattress Disposal. 1Tempur-pedic, Stearns & Foster and Sealy mattresses on sale from 5/7/24 to 6/4/24. 2With purchase of Sealy, Beautyrest, Serta, Nectar, Purple or Cahaba Bedding mattress sets. Up to a $400 value. Not valid with other promotions. See store for details. QUEEN FOR KING PLUS FREE ADJUSTABLE BASE2 STARTING AT $999 SAVE $800 HOMEWOOD Firm, Medium or Plush Pillowtop +$100 QUEEN TWINFOR PALM SPRINGS HYBRID Firm, Medium or Plush PLUS FREE ADJUSTABLE BASE2 STARTING AT $999 SAVE $1000 *Offer valid May 7–June 4, 2024, while supplies last. Maximum savings of $500 requires purchase of a TEMPUR-Breeze® or TEMPUR-LuxeAdapt® mattress and a TEMPUR-Ergo® Smart Base. Select adjustable mattress sets only. Copyright 2024 Tempur-Pedic North America, LLC.All rights reserved. MEMORIAL DAY SALE SAVE UP TO $500* on select adjustable mattress sets Queen Mattresses Starting At $34 OVER 60 MO $1999 ** *** FOR TOTAL OF OPEN: MON - FRI: 10AM - 7PM SAT: 9AM - 6PM SUN: 1PM - 6PM bedzzzexpress.com Alabaster 621-7010 Gardendale 631-2322 Greystone 408-0280 Hoover 979-7274 Hoover 982-8006 Hueytown 744-4948 Inverness 739-2339 Leeds 699-7000 McCalla 426-1833 Mountain Brook 956-8033 Pelham 663-2337 Trussville 661-6200 Trussville 655-6906 Vestavia 978-3068 Bedzzz Express Outlet Greystone 408-1250 Bedzzz Express Outlet Pelham 664-0096 Scan with your phone’s camera to go to our specials page. LOWEST PRICES OF THE YEAR • EVERY MATTRESS IN THE STORE IS ON SALE!1 • SAVE UP TO $1000 STOREWIDE BIRMINGHAM OWNED AND LOCALLY OPERATED FOR OVER 30 YEARS MEMORIAL DAY SALE BRING THIS COUPON TO THE STORE & TAKE AN ADDITIONAL Does not apply to previous sales. Does not apply to manufacturers MAP prices. Limited time only. Ends 6/3/24 10% OFF

It was March 2020, and Mary Scott Israel wasn’t feeling well. But in those early days of COVID-19, not feeling well was often attributed to the stresses and fears of the coming pandemic.

So, the University of Alabama sophomore brushed off some nagging stomach problems she had been experiencing, and she and her roommate embarked on a long-awaited spring break trip to Spain.

But they didn’t get far. They were in the air when the Trump Administration announced a travel ban, and the plane turned around. The girls’ European vacation abruptly ended at New York’s JFK airport.

With the benefit of hindsight, Israel now sees the travel ban as the first of

‘I was not interested in walking down the avenue of doing chemo, only to go through more suffering. I just wanted to live out whatever time I had left.’

many blessings that carried her through the battle she was about to face.

Once the would-be travelers made their way back to Alabama, a trip made long and difficult due to lockdowns, Israel and her roommate headed to the Gulf Coast to quarantine. In the meantime, they each contracted a case of COVID.

“As the weeks rolled by, my roommate got better, but I just did not,” she said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but in addition to fighting COVID, my body was fighting cancer.”

By early May, Israel’s continuing illness had become too much to ignore, and she returned home to Vestavia Hills. Her father and stepmother, alarmed at her overall appearance, quickly sought medical help.

Testing revealed that a 27-centimeter tumor had overtaken Israel’s left ovary and spread to her colon, liver and other parts of the abdominal area. Surgery a day later did away with the 16-pound mass, and to preserve fertility, the right ovary was left intact. Her prognosis, however, was bleak; while aggressive chemotherapy might prolong her life, it would not cure the cancer.

“I was not interested in walking down the avenue of doing chemo, only to go through more suffering,” she said. “I just wanted to live out whatever time I had left.”

Coincidentally, the day Israel left the hospital, she learned she had been accepted to the Capstone School of Nursing. Told by school officials that she could either withdraw or defer her enrollment, Israel chose to defer.

As word of her condition spread, “I was immediately wrapped in a lot of love and a lot of prayers,” she said.

Sharing the Journey

Ovarian Cancer Survivor Who Went From Death Sentence to Lifeline Participates in Upcoming Motherwalk

considers the travel ban as the first of many blessings that carried her through her cancer journey.

“My church rallied for me; my pastors, family, friends and people I have never met and probably will never meet hit their knees, praying for me.”

So she considers what happened next a direct answer to prayer and “the most incredible gift God has ever given me, other than calling me his own.”

While Israel recovered from surgery, a dedicated team of doctors continued to work on her case, and their efforts paid off. Through further review of the pathology and consultations with other doctors, including some at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a restated pathology report came back with an encouraging note.

“It said I had a surviving chance if we hit it with chemo really, really

hard and really, really fast,” she said, “and that’s exactly what we did. All of a sudden, this girl who was going to die was given a possibility to live.”

Four years later, Israel has finished nursing school and works at Children’s Hospital caring for pediatric oncology patients. She is back to traveling and takes an active role in her church, and she gladly shares her incredible story of cancer and healing as opportunities arise.

“I believe prayer saved my life,” said Israel. “I don’t deserve a single bit of the grace extended to me, but here I am. And if anybody is denying that God is sovereign or that he is the master of creation, I’m like, ‘Let me just tell you about the summer of 2020.’”

Motherwalk 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run

Because she’s “been there” and wants to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, Mary Scott Israel will be joining an anticipated 600 runners for the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation’s 21st annual Motherwalk 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run at Homewood Central Park on May 11.

“I went last year, and it was awesome,” she said. “It’s going to be a good day.”

An annual event held on Mother’s Day weekend, Motherwalk is also an opportunity for honoring survivors and remembering women who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer.

“Before the race begins, we’ll have a recognition ceremony that will culminate in a dove release,” Ashley Thompson, executive director of the foundation, said. “We’ll also have a memory walk with nearly 200 pictures of women who have dealt with ovarian cancer.”

The event will feature music, a kids’ zone, educational displays and merchandise vendors. A celebratory moment will come when the foundation’s research grants are awarded.

“The amounts are bigger than ever, and we’ll be awarding a huge grant to the UAB Department of Gynecological Oncology,” Thompson said. “We’ll also award our second grant to the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute.”

The UAB grant, said Thompson, comes from the foundation’s Drive Out Ovarian Cancer car tags. Every dollar the foundation receives for sales of the tags goes to funding research.

For information, visit cureovariancancer.org.

8 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE
WORLD TRAVELER Mary Scott Israel, shown above in Egypt on a church mission trip, was on her way to Spain when COVID shut down abruptly ended her trip at JFK airport. She Photo by Lloyd Beard

Whether mixed and matched or worn all together, the options are endless with the Palm Springs Stacked Bracelet, $95. Frances Valentine The Summit Birmingham, (205) 538-5276

For the modern and classic mom, detachable South Sea pearl earring jackets, $1,450 to $ 2,450. JB & Co (205) 478-0455

This berry bowl with saucer in Lynne Killion pottery is perfect for Mom and just in time for berry season. Three different glazed to choose from, $50. The Cook Store, (205) 879-5277.

Because every mother would love a Louis Phillippe Mirror, Tricia’s Treasures, (205) 871-9779

Perfumes de Marly’s first-ever limitededition bottle to celebrate the iconic Delina eau de perfume and its multi-faceted, addictive Damascena rose. 75mL, $385. Gus Mayer, (205) 870-3300

Acrylic painting on canvas “Bouquet of Flowers” by Victoria Valjalo, 36”x36”, $1,600. Griffith Art Gallery (205) 985-7969

Make Mom’s day with a charming porcelain Herend handbag in raspberry pink. Hand painted in Hungary. Bromberg’s Mountain Brook (205) 8713276 and The Summit (205) 969-1776

Cool and comfy for summer, seersucker pajamas in blue or pink! Marguerite’s Conceits, (205) 879-2730

Longline T made from Bamboo and Cotton. The multipurpose, relaxed fit, performance tee for all Moms. Tasc Lane Parke, (659) 599-9240

Shroomyz Ceramic mushrooms frost proof and unique! Handmade in Salt Lake City Utah, $18.99 - $32.99. Wild Birds Unlimited, (205) 823-6500

Your heart health shouldn’t wait

Appointments available with cardiovascular specialists

When you choose Cardiology Specialists of Birmingham at Ascension St. Vincent’s, you get an entire team dedicated to your heart care. Start a conversation with a doctor about new symptoms, health history and your risk for heart disease. From routine to advanced heart care, we’re ready to work with you on a personalized care plan.

Ask about virtual visits and schedule an appointment with one of our cardiovascular specialists today, at 205-660-4174.

Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham 2700 10th Ave. S., POB 2, Suite 305 Birmingham, AL 35205

Cardiology Specialists of Birmingham Gardendale 2217 Decatur Highway 127 Gardendale, AL 35071

Ascension St. Vincent’s One Nineteen 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Building 1, Suite 106 Birmingham, AL 35242

Ascension St. Vincent’s Primary Care Hoover 1870 Chace Drive, Suite 160 Hoover, AL 35244

Get the heart care that’s right for you at ascension.org/StVincentsALHeart

Thursday, May 2, 2024 • 9 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Alain Bouchard, MD Thomas Cawthon Jr., MD David Cox, MD Munish Goyal, MD
© Ascension 2024. All rights reserved.
Benjamin Plaisance, MD Barry Rayburn, MD Christopher DeGroat, MD Hassan Alkhawam, MD Baran Aksut, MD
OTMJ Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2024

Village 205-423-5443

Spinelli Kilcollin Galaxy Rings available in sterling silver or 14K yellow and rose gold. Stocked in all sizes, starting at $250. Etc... (205) 871-6747 www.shopetcjewelry.com

Indulge Mom in old-world charm with an English antique wooden box, various sizes. Roman Brantley Art and Antiques, (205) 460-1224

Orchids are a daily reminder of your love for Mom,$60 - $75. Oak Street Garden Shop, (205) 870-7542

Seda France Candles in beautiful containers and various fragrances, $39. Antique Market on Linden, (205) 490-1162

Give Mom the best gift! Handyman TruBlue onsite services starting at $250 to apply to job you need. TruBlue Home Service Ally, (205) 839-3818

Add a flash of vibrant jewel-toned greens and blues to everyday blouse and jeans combination or lend extra sparkle for special occasions and cocktail hour. Capucine de Wulf, $150. Village Poodle, (205) 423-5443

Richard E. Simmons’ book is a series of timeless essays on the art of intentional living. A guide to help you walk in wisdom on life’s journey, $18.00. richardesimmons3.com.

Mom will trreasure these floral hand painted hand towels by local artist, $17 each. Attic Antiques, (205) 991-6887

“The Bubble Collection” necklace in 14 kt yellow gold with 0.41cts of diamonds, $1,185. Southeastern Jewelers, (205) 980-9030

Together 18k gold plating and stainless give a chic look to MICHELE’s iconic collection. The Deco Mid is a must for any mom, $1,895.BartonClay, 205-871-7060

These 14kt yellow gold diamond huggie earrings are the perfect everyday, diamond hoop, $2,280. Honeybee Collection, 404-915-2738

Ladies clutch handbag, all handmade in Madagascar off the coast of Africa. Beautiful woven raffia, sisal and hand dyed, $54.95. Second Hand Rose, (205) 970-7997

10 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE Voted “Best Jeweler in Birmingham” JohnBromberg@JBandCoJewelry.com For Appointment: 205.478.0455 | JBandCoJewelry.com 2841 Cahaba Road • Mountain Brook Village • M-F 10-5 • Sat 10-4 205-879-5277 • www.thecookstoremtnbrook.com LUCY WANTS YOUR MOM TO BE HAPPY ON MOTHER'S DAY! GIVE WHAT YOU LOVE... LOVE WHAT YOU GIVE! 2410 Canterbury Road Mountain Brook
Going Places?!

Ella Stein’s jewelry, with real diamonds, is handcrafted by empowered women, the ideal gift for Mother’s Day. Top: $199. Middle: $155. Bottom: $199. george inside Snoozy’s Kids! (205) 871-2662

A keepsake for Mom’s keepsakes, fan shaped trinket box $10.95. Vintage Interiors, (205) 620-1900

E Newton bracelets, rings, and necklaces are always a 100% home run gift! Ryan Reeve, (205) 518-5010

Make mom feel special with stunning Huggie Hoops starting at $500. Shay’s Jewlery, (205) 978-5880

She’ll love getting everyone together for the practically perfect family musical – Mary Poppins! Tickets start at $49 (group discounts available). Red Mountain Theatre, (205) 324-2424

Handcrafted in Italy, Alisa necklace in 18K gold Traversa circular tube on a double cable chain necklace with four 925 Sterling Silver .03ct diamond rondelles; .12ct tw & 17” Steeds Jewelers, (205) 822-9173

Inside-out diamond hoop earrings, 2.33 carats in 18k white gold, $6,750. Wallace-Burke, (205) 874-1044

Get ooh la la clean! With a pack of Beekman 1802 goat milk wipes in Mom’s purse, gym bag, car she can freshen up anytime. Christine’s on Canterbury, (205) 871-8297

Give Mom the easy life for Mother’s Day. A beautiful, organized and user friendly Closets by Design closet. Call for free estimates, 205-777-4000

Treat beautiful mothers to Nest candles—luxurious scents and elegant designs in exquisite packaging. Baker Lamps and Linens, (205) 981-3330

The Sea Lily designers produce unique “handmade” jewelry. Sea Lily cotton ball pearl necklace, $48. Town & Country Clothes, (205) 871-7909

Tickets to Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume exhibit makes a great day out for Mom. Birmingham Museum of Art, (205) 254-2564

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Homewood Library Block Party Entertains Kids

Live music, cold beverages and samples of food and drink from local sponsors were on hand April 20 for the Homewood Library Foundation Block Party.

The ninth annual block party was a family-friendly event to support the library and included activities and games for children at the bookthemed carnival.

is Fun!
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Guild Gala

Annual Fundraiser Benefits

The Bell Center

The Service Guild of Birmingham held its largest fundraiser of the year April 27 at The Club.

Guild Gala, a benefit for The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs, was a black-tie event, with a cocktail hour, seated dinner and silent auction. An after-party featured DJ Michael Warren. ❖

Abbie and Bo Bruner Journal photos by Jordan Wald Drew and Julie Phillips, Katelyn Utsey, Ryan and Michael Player Robert and Elizabeth Hollis Felicia and Riley Pike Lori and Chad Williamson Sheetal Cordry, Carla Dumontier, Jenny Hester, Marianne Jenkins Frank and Denise Slupe Lindsay and Michael Booth Lauren Walton, Will Connelly John and Aleria Lorino Jenna and Jonathan Shugart Grant and Chelsi Davis Laura and John Fiveash Kim and Trey Schaefer Kaylee and Matchette Gunn

Valley Off-Shoots Garden Club Members Reflect on 60 Years of Activities

Valley Off-Shoots Garden Club members recently celebrated 60 years by sharing memories of their meetings and activities over the years.

A huge, hanging air plant ornamented with multiple young offshoots was on showcase at the lunch in the Vulcan Room at The Club, symbolizing the group’s origins. Members began the group in 1964 as an offshoot of their mother’s garden club, The Valley Garden Club, and then invited friends to join them. They’ve met monthly since that time to talk about flowers, gardening and mutual interests.

During the lunch, Sarah Creveling, the first president, reminisced about the group’s beginning and some of her favorite meetings over the years. The group shared recollections of the many bus field trips they have gone on to see gardens in the South,

such as the Atlanta, Mobile, Nashville and Callaway Botanical Gardens, as well as tours to Eufaula and Natchez and canoe trips down the Cahaba River to see the Cahaba lilies.

Members attending the lunch were President Lucy Allison, Bonnie Bailey, Marie Baynes, Judy Bewley, Ann Bloodworth, Karen Chapman, Martha Cheney, Louise Clayton, Joy Cooper, Pam Collier, Sarah Creveling, Augusta Forbes, Bobbye Ann Goodner, Betsy Gresham, Mary Ruth Ingram, Linda Johnson, Caroline Kelley, Anne Kracke, Robbie Lightfoot, Mimi Little, Joyce Lott, Jane Morgan, Jean Morrison, Beverly Register, Margaret Ritchie, Helen Simmons, Jeanne Walthall and Doris Wilson.

The club donates a portion of its members’ dues to benefit community philanthropic causes. ❖

Original Valley Off-Shoots Garden Club members attending an anniversary luncheon were Karen Chapman, Sarah Creveling, Judy Lavallet, Ann Bloodworth, Jane Morgan, Lucy Allison and Bobbye Ann Goodner. Original members not pictured were Peggy Barnhart, Martha Bradford, Ann Key and Anne Waudby.

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Thursday, May 2, 2024 • 15 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL Courtesy
Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646 Date: April
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Palate and Palette

OCCC Event Features Food, Art and Music

The young supporters board of UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center held the Palate & Palette fundraiser at The Fennec on April 18.

The inaugural event included food, art and live music and featured nine local chefs, nine artists who created pieces live and a variety of musicians.

Proceeds from the event are earmarked to the Mary Ann Harvard and Jacob Baker NextGen Scholar Awards, which foster the development of cancer research and treatments. ❖

16 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL 1811 29th Ave. South I Downtown Homewood I 205.874.1044 wallace-burke.com WALLACE -BURKE Fine Jewelry & Collectibles Fine Jewelry & Art 1811 29th Avenue S. Homewood wallace-burke.com Mother's Day Is May 12th
From campus to clinic. Nurturing our four-legged companions. A 10-year partnership between Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Greater Birmingham Humane Society gives students surgical competence and unowned animals a better chance of adoption. auburn.edu/AuburnAtWork
Laura Murphy, Brooke Moore, Megan Stephens Lucy Jane Ragsdale, Sarah Frances Phillips, Graham Lejeune Ben and Tori Reeves Journal photos by Jordan Wald Caroline and Daniel Spieler Amy Uffinger, Brittany Jones, Kira Strid, Kelly Connelly, McKenna Jones Michael and Molly Wills Lacey and Jason Epstein Derek and Ashley Padgett

Bands provided live music and partygoers were served plates of fried catfish with all the

to make it a meal to remember. The Funky Fish Fry is held every April to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month and is hosted by the Mitchell’s Place and Autism Support of Alabama’s junior boards in support of individuals in the area with autism spectrum disorder. ❖

Thursday, May 2, 2024 • 17 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL 5299 Valleydale Road, Suite 111 980-9030 southeasternjewelers.net (1/4 mile off 280) Mother's Day is Sunday,
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Fish Fry
Bob and Leah Palmer Journal photos by Jordan Wald Dana Morson, Anna Claire Parks, Marye Grace Sauermann and friend Tara Neely, Gabbie Pritchett Avondale Brewing Company was the site of the 14th annual Funky Fish Fry to benefit Mitchell’s Place on April 13. fixin’s Cameron Beall, Hampton Stephens, Susan Evans Phoebe Evans, Anette Linton, Elizabeth McCarty

Return to the Scene

Mountain Brook High School’s Class of 1974 held its 50th reunion April 20 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

It was fitting that the event was at the botanical gardens, where the group held its after-prom breakfast party 50 years ago, said class member Elon Allen, one of the organizers.

The evening included a dinner buffet and cash bar.

Several members of the class brought the event together. Emory Ellis, class president in 1974, formed a group to try to contact all classmates. Cindy Sherrill Canaday, who has overseen the class website for the past 30 years, kept everyone updated. Mary Owens has overseen the Class of 1974’s finances for 30 years. Carla Caffey Kent organized the decorations with alumni, including those who were members of the Dorians, the school’s dance team. The Dorians had a reunion lunch earlier in the day.

Mark Hilley provided the music and Ken Williams was in charge of name tags, which led to some goodnatured laughs at how large the print needed to be so class members could read them, Allen said. ❖

18 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL BAKER LAMPS & LINENS 5299 Valleydale Rd. | 205.981.3330 | bakerlampsandlinens.com BeforeAfter FANTASTIC Selection of Lamp Shades Lamps • Lamp Repair • Custom Lamps Chandelier Re-wiring BeforeAfter BeforeAfter BeforeAfter Antique Champlevé lamps available for purchase! Visit our shop or give us a call. COME SHOP OUR COLLECTION AT IN LANE PARKE 230 RELE STREET, MOUNTAIN BROOK 205.518.0222 | HONEYBEECOLLECTION.COM Celebrate
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Improving the Community

The Women’s Committee of 100 for Birmingham honored three people and one business April 23 during its annual Awards Luncheon at The Country Club of Birmingham.

Recognized as Citizen of the Year was Keith Cromwell, executive director of Red Mountain Theatre since 2003. The award is given to someone who actively exemplifies humanitarian qualities, shows a commitment to improving the quality of life in Alabama and has affected the lives of others, according to a press release from the Women’s Committee.

Cromwell’s years of leadership led to Red Mountain Theatre becoming one of the top 10 arts organizations in the state. In 2021, he led RMT to the opening of a decades-long dream and cultural asset – a 60,000-square-foot arts campus in the burgeoning Parkside district.

The Brother Bryan-Prayer Point Award was given to Shellie Layne, CEO and founder of the Women Under Construction Network. The award is given to a person who has made outstanding humanitarian contributions to the community exemplifying the life of Brother John Bryan, pastor of Third Presbyterian Church who was known for his support of the poor and homeless.

The Women’s Committee said in its press release, “She embraces her

mission to empower and motivate women using tools, home furnishings, and home repair applications.”

The recipient of the Alabama Preservation Award was Roald Hazelhoff, executive director of the Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham-Southern College. The award is given to someone who has made an exceptional contribution to conserve and promote the history and culture of Alabama.

Among his achievements in his decades-long dedication to the environment were the creation of the environmental center, which shows the importance of recycling and sustainability. He also led the transformation of BSC’s former planetarium into the GeoDome, a 50-seat educational theater, as a way to highlight Alabama’s geographic and biological riches.

The Women’s Committee also gave special recognition to ARC Realty as the nominee that has made “breakthroughs that improve the community and help to heal the world.”

“The company’s involvement in neighborhoods, schools and civic organizations gives it unique insight into what makes our city special,” the press release said. “ARC Realty supports more than a dozen organizations, spanning causes from medical research to education.” ❖

Journal photos by Jordan Wald
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Taste for a Cure

Event Raises Awareness of Parkinson’s Disease

Gourmet delights were served to guests at Taste for the Cure, a fundraiser for the Parkinson Association of Alabama at the Grand Bohemian Hotel on April 25. The rhythmic beats of live music set the tone for silent and live auctions during the evening for a good cause.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, an annual observance dedicated to increasing awareness and fostering understanding of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. ❖

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL May 2, 2024 issue. Please email approval or changes. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Thank you for your prompt attention.

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Outdoor Rooms With Views

As an interior decorator, Mary Finch is used to creating beautiful, comfortable, livable rooms. So, it made perfect sense for her to do the same with her garden – especially since the walls

were already there.

When Finch and her husband, Ed, bought their Redmont Park home in 2003, the 1.5-acre property was overgrown with wisteria, kudzu and privet. Once that was gone, they found a wealth of walls and walkways and terraces, and this became the framework for a series of outdoor spaces with structure and scenic views; sculpture and antiques; and plenty of places to eat, drink, play and relax.

“This was an open slate,” said Finch, who had come to Birmingham from Montgomery with lots of ideas and several cherished pieces of antique outdoor décor. “As a decorator, your mind starts thinking about how to use what you have. When people walk into my house, I like for them to instantly feel at home, comfortable,” she said. “And even though parts of this (garden) are a little more formal, I like for them to feel like they are at home. Like they can enjoy themselves. They can play, they can eat, they can look.”

Finch enlisted the help of noted Birmingham landscape architect Norman Kent Johnson, and these friends of friends became friends themselves and set out on a decadeslong partnership in this garden.

“I knew about Norman before I came up here,” Finch said. “We clicked from the beginning, and this was a pleasure to put into place because we thought alike. He listened to me, and I listened to him.”

The house itself is historically and architecturally interesting. It was designed in the 1920s

by noted Birmingham architects Miller & Martin. Johnson describes it as a jewel box.

“I’d never seen this house before,” he said, “and I mean it was just complete and total ‘socks blown.’ I said, ‘Oh my God, this is maybe one of the most romantic houses in all of Birmingham.’ And the astonishing gift was – we’ve covered up a lot of the bones now actually – but you can see where the concrete walls are. They are original to the house.

“It was humbling, but it also was informative,” he said. “It was very immediately clear that we are merely part of a precedence, of a sequence. That somebody came before us and gave us such an amazing gift of the bones of this garden – the finest bones. I don’t know of another garden in Birmingham where the bones are any finer.”

Finch and Johnson have replanted the entire garden in the 20 years they’ve partnered, working around enormous 100-year-old boxwoods, honoring the original footprint.

The front garden, hidden behind hedges, is naturalistic, almost Arcadian. Varieties of spiky mahonia contrast with the smooth, sloping lawn. There’s a sculptural specimen vitex framing the front door. A small space for grilling outside the kitchen door has an intimate seating area in deep shade. It feels like a country place.

Rooms That Are the Views

By contrast, the rest of the property consists

Homeowner Mary Finch, above, has partnered with noted Birmingham landscape architect Norman Kent Johnson for 20 years to create and maintain her garden. Finch and her garden team created a water feature, left, in one afternoon using items from the property.

of walled and terraced spaces that create more formal and entertainment-ready spaces, almost like outdoor rooms furnished with sculptures, a water feature, antique urns and benches, dining areas, comfortable seating and shade.

Finch’s favorite place is the large, paved balcony off the home’s formal and family living rooms with its deep, comfortable seating beneath huge umbrellas, views of the side and back of the property as well as a sweeping panorama across Shades Valley to the ridges beyond.

Directly below the balcony patio, lush beds of Lenten roses – with a lone, insistent white peony poking through – offer subtle color

Journal photos by Maury Wald 22 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME
Redmont Home Showcases Inspiring Spaces for al Fresco Entertainment
page 23

Experience Four Gardens in Open Tours FINCH

Mary Finch’s garden, with its views, structure and sculpture, is just one of four private Birmingham-area gardens that will be open for rare tours during the Garden Conservancy Open Days program Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $5 for Garden Conservancy members and $10 for non-members. Tickets are available at gardenconservancy.org/open-days.

The idea behind Open Days is to introduce gardeners of all levels of experience to a diverse range of garden types, sizes and traditions. Since 1995, Open Days has welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors into thousands of inspired private landscapes – from urban rooftops to organic farms, historic estates to innovative suburban lots – in 41 states.

On Saturday, visitors can tour:

• Louise Wrinkle’s Southern Woodland Garden: On Wrinkle’s 2 acres, which she designed with Norman Kent Johnson, visitors will see a variety of garden areas including a sunken boxwood parterre framed by a Belgian fence of native crabapple, a cutting garden and a natural brook that flows all year. Follow a network of paths and small stone walls and experience a thoughtful horticultural history that began with natives and extends to colorful Asian counterparts.

• The Butrus Garden: An Italianate garden surrounds a grand house of gray limestone in the middle of a 4-acre mature woodland space. The emphasis is on greenery, stone and water. Look for an antique fountain, many private nooks for entertaining, a greenhouse the stone base of which matches the house, an antique copper female figure, and a new woodland garden designed by Johnson.

• The Dancer: On the down slope of Red Mountain, a 1930s Tudor-style house is home to a beautiful, small garden inspired by water, a ballerina and roses. The space is about 2,100 square feet – 35 feet by 60 feet – and features two garden “rooms.” The fountain garden is centered on the home’s renovated kitchen’s steelframed glass doors. Adjacent to the fountain garden is the rose/sculpture garden, centered on the living room.

A display terrace for a beautiful, 8-foot-tall, bronze ballerina sculpture is surrounded by four Winter King Hawthorns with a colorful, fragrant rose garden beyond.

The tour is part of a larger weekend celebration of local gardeners, including Wrinkle, who is a nationally known proponent of native gardening.

The Garden Conservancy’s latest documentary film, “A Garden in Conversation: Louise Agee Wrinkle’s Southern Woodland Sanctuary,” premiers Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Virginia Samford Theatre. The film explores the ideas of preservation and conservation and Wrinkle’s own gardening philosophy of “letting plants develop as they will and tend to them in a way that highlights the subtle beauties of texture, rhythm, pattern, repetition.”

After the screening of the documentary, there will be a panel discussion on Southern gardens, native plants and conservation with local and regional garden experts.

Wrinkle’s book “Listen to the Land: Creating a Southern Woodland Garden,” has been reprinted and there will be a reception and book signing following the film and discussion.

This film and book event is free, but registration is required. Go to gardenconservancy.org to register.

From page 22

and texture and soften a formal bowed parterre of boxwood. Form and function come together with heat-resistant, lowmaintenance gaura planted in beautiful, antique white terra-cotta urns from the Galloway Foundry in Philadelphia. These, along with Japanese maples, anchor this formal space. Irises and lamb’s ears grow along the borders.

Below this garden is a tidy crescent that Finch calls her “farming” area, with apple, Asian pear and fig trees, blueberry brambles and wild strawberries. Beyond, you’ll see a neat “wilderness” of ornamental trees and grasses, all enclosed by towering hollies and magnolias.

There’s an open lawn on the side of the house, framed with walkways made of stone from the property, box hedges and a small allée of potted trees. Dining tables and chairs are ready for al fresco

entertaining. The far wall of the garden offers the hint of another view.

Tucked below this level is a walled and hedged enclosure with a bocce court. Courtside chairs and benches, a games table and potted shrubs fill this fun, almost-secret space.

This is a green garden; there’s very little floral here.

“This is the only way I would do it,” Finch said, “because I don’t want to spend that much time and energy. I love

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From page

green gardens.”

It’s green year-round, but in winter, the sculpture of the bare trees is what you’ll notice. In the fall, the golden rain tree shines.

Finch’s garden will be open for touring as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days program Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She said she hopes visitors are inspired by what they see.

“One thing I like when I go places, I like to see something that’s doable. … I don’t like to be so overwhelmed,” Finch said. “This could be done on any kind of scale. It could be much grander, or it could be less, and it’s not that hard.”

A Garden Is Never ‘Finished’

In the two decades that Finch has owned her garden, she and Johnson have worked on nearly every inch. Years ago, they planted magnolias and hollies in anticipation of development, and now she enjoys deep green privacy. As temperature extremes have affected the garden, they have added new and different plants that will weather changes better.

“So much of what we’ve done here has been evolutionary,” Johnson said.

When blight decimated her 100-year-old boxwoods, Finch and Johnson replaced them with Japanese maples and a beautiful styrax with its perfect little bell-shaped flowers.

“Almost instantly I started liking the change,” Finch said, because it opened

up the garden. When the vitex broke their Italian pots in the dining garden allée, they cut out the bottoms of the pots, reinforced them with iron bands, moved the vitex elsewhere and replaced them with crepe myrtles.

“I think I can speak for my friend,” Johnson said. “We’re both very romantic, but we’re very pragmatic about a lot of stuff. Like when the boxwoods started dying, we said, ‘No, we’re not going to spend a billion dollars to airfreight in gigantic boxwoods to replace them.’ Because they could probably get the same thing and be gone quickly. So, what is our responsibility as the inheritors of this garden?

“It’s her garden,” he admitted, “but Mary is letting me play, and I feel very proprietorial about it, I guess.”

The home in the middle of these gardens is important historically and architecturally. It was designed in the 1920s by Birmingham architects Miller & Martin.

you’re just getting started.”

They will never be done, and that’s OK.

“You come with ideas and aspirations,” Johnson said, “but there’s also kind of always the ‘get back, Loretta.’ Reality slaps you in the face. The boxwoods get a disease, the vitexes break the pots, there’s a view to screen that we didn’t know we needed to screen 10 years ago.

“Mary is a good gardener,” he continued. “She has a gardening heart, soul, sensibility. Gardening is a continuous exploration. … In a garden, when the holes are dug and the plants put in it,

“I compare it to interiors,” Finch said. “If you buy good things, you can move them all around the house and it looks great. Same thing out here. How many things have we dug up, taken them somewhere else and they’ve thrived … . We’ve done our share of moving around. And we have good dirt.”

“It’s not that you’re trying to reach a point,” Johnson said. “That point does not exist. There is no end; contentment is the process. The end is merely where you happen to be right now.”


24 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME
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Anytime you’re looking for a gift for your Mother, its not that easy. It can be hard to find a unique gift that she will use and appreciate. After all, how many of those special soaps, robes or stationary does she need?

Here’s some ideas to consider:

1) If Mom is a busy Mom and/or has gotten to where she doesn’t love to cook, one idea is to purchase several meals from a catering company. It helps the local economy and Mom has a fresh supply of homemade meals she doesn’t have to make herself. Just freeze and reheat!

2) Mothers also appreciate the opportunity to do something with their children rather than just visit at home. Maybe buying her dinner out and tickets to a museum or theater production would be nice.

3) Does Mom like plants? Instead of her having to do the hard work of planting her pots, let Trublue do it for her.

4) Trublue also has a gift certificate that provides 3 hours of handyman labor to help her fix things around the house from cabinets and doors to pressure washing the outdoor furniture to moving the old decorations and furniture to storage . Trublue can even provide a quarterly maintenance subscription.

5) If Mom is older and finding mobility to be an issue, Trublue offers a deal to install grab bars or tub cutouts. Trublue is here to help.

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When Adam Evans opened Automatic Seafood and Oysters in Birmingham about five years ago, it made a high-water mark on the city’s culinary landscape. Now, he’s set to make another splash with his new restaurant, Current Charcoal Grill.

The James Beard Award for best chef South in 2022, Evans has partnered for this venture with fellow chef Luke Joseph and owner Raymond J. Harbert. Evans and Joseph, Automatic’s brunch chef, have put their heads and palates together to create an exciting AsianAmerican menu that includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese flavors, ingredients, recipes and techniques.



James Beard Winner’s New Restaurant Is Set to Make a Splash

“We wanted to go for a completely different concept,” Evans said. “You learn and grow by stepping outside your comfort zone. My wife and I love Asian cuisine, and we wanted to add it to the dining scene here. I love a nicely made bowl of ramen, a perfect bite of nigiri, scallion pancakes, grilled skewers. I crave those flavors.”

Fans of Evans’ work at Automatic Seafood have been eagerly waiting for the uber-talented chef to open another restaurant. The pieces fell into place when New Zealand native Joseph entered the picture.

“Luke and I first met when he came to Automatic and said, ‘I’d like to stage with you guys,’” Evans said. In restaurant lingo, a “stage” is an internship that lets cooks or chefs learn and gain experience in another chef’s kitchen.

“His experiences working in Melbourne and Sidney were similar to my experiences in New York. He really brought this concept to life.” Joseph grew up on an island near Auckland, New Zealand.

“My family was focused on food in general,” he said. “I grew up grabbing mussels off rocks and being in my grandmother’s orchards. My family loves food.”

Although he cooked during his college days to make extra money, he didn’t start seriously pursuing a career in food until he was in his 20s.

“I got a degree in biomedical engineering and moved to Australia for an internship in engineering, but it just wasn’t fulfilling,” Joseph said. “The food scene in Australia blew me away. I quit engineering and ended up working in about 30 restaurants, mostly in Melbourne.”

He met his wife, who’s from Birmingham, when she was studying abroad.

“She wanted to come home to be near her family,” Joseph said. “I worked as a consultant for Woodlawn Cycle. I found out about Adam; we’re alike in many ways. We both are focused on seasonality and sustainability.

“New Zealand is naturally close to Southeast Asia, so a lot of ingredients are the same. I grew up eating ramen and sushi, and Vietnamese and Thai cooking are prevalent in Australia. I worked at some fusion restaurants.”

Luke Joseph and Adam Evans, from left above, have put their heads and palates together to create an exciting Asian-American menu that includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese flavors, ingredients, recipes and techniques. Another of the restaurant’s key team members is responsible for the stunning interior design:

Pacific Meets Parkside

Another of the restaurant’s key team members is responsible for the stunning interior design: Suzanne Humphries Evans, Adam’s wife. An accomplished designer, she’d never taken on the task of creating a restaurant from scratch until the couple opened Automatic Seafood.

Coming up with just the right look and vibe for Current Charcoal Grill was a daunting challenge.

“I had this ‘oh my goodness’ moment because Asian wasn’t an aesthetic that I had much experience with,” she said. “But I felt very excited to try something new.”

The menu draws inspiration from Asian tech-

niques and flavors rather than simply reproducing standard favorites, and her design is based on that same philosophy. To get started, she familiarized herself with the architecture of the Parkside District building chosen for Current: the front half of a high-ceilinged, cavernous former warehouse near the Red Mountain Theatre campus.

“When we developed the concept for this restaurant, I first thought about a good old New York City style due to its proximity to the theater,” Suzanne said. “But the more we thought about it, the more we wanted to make a restaurant that we’d want to go to – something that you couldn’t find anywhere else in Birmingham.”

She chose to take an approach that would evoke the Pacific Ocean, and she succeeded. Guests may feel they’ve wandered into an exotic South Seas hideaway.

“I wanted it to be a little darker, a little mysterious,” she said. “The point of the design is to support the menu. You want diners to feel the food before they taste it.”

To that end, Suzanne opted for lots of dramatic teal-colored tiles, which she calls “the star of the show.” A nice contrast to the rich blue of the tiles is the copper-topped bar, where diners can see the chefs at work.

She’s hoping the lazy Susans she placed on two round tables will make it easy for large groups to share what they order.

Notable Asian touches include Shou Sugi Ban, a traditional Japanese method of preserving wood by charring it, wood paneling; Shiboridyed fabrics, which refers to a Japanese clothdying technique that dates back to the eighth century; and rice paper lanterns. On a 200-yearold Chinese altar table that serves as the hosts’ stand are two brass lamps of which she’s especially fond.

“They belonged to my grandmother,” she said. “My grandfather’s brother brought them back from Japan. It’s nice having something of my grandmother’s here.”

Unlike a residential designer whose focus is

26 • Thursday, May 2, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Suzanne Humphries Evans, Adam’s wife. Photos by Caleb Chancey

creating a space for an individual or family, coming up with a restaurant design means taking both the diners and the staff into consideration.

“It’s about so much more than making things attractive,” Suzanne said. “You don’t want the staff to have to take extra steps; you don’t want to have finishes that don’t wear well. You want to create an environment that makes working there easier.”

In her work at both of the Evans’ restaurants, she’s succeeded in beautifully combining form and function.

“I think we’re creating a whole experience for our diners – an adventure,” Suzanne said

Bringing the (Clean) Heat

Some of Current Charcoal Grill’s culinary standards will be familiar to Automatic Seafood regulars: sustainably harvested seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, locally sourced produce and superior proteins. Adam Evans is a proponent of spearfishing – he said this technique results in better quality – and even works with a Destin, Floridabased spearfisherman, Josh Livingston.

“We get our fish in whole and butcher it ourselves so it doesn’t compromise the meat,” Evans said.

The menu will change with the seasons, but at any time of year, diners will have a tempting array to choose from, including raw fish and rice preparations, grilled skewers, whole roasted duck, Cantonese-style crispy pork belly and dumplings. There are small and large plate options, which makes it easy for diners to try more than one dish and to share.

Joseph said Current’s tempura will be a “vessel to highlight the wonderful local produce here.”

“It’s a light batter made with vodka and soda water,” he said.

One of the restaurant’s most intriguing features is a grill that uses traditional Japanese Binchotan charcoal.

“Binchotan charcoal has a clean flavor and doesn’t smoke a lot,” Evans explained. “It’s a fuel that doesn’t overwhelm with smoke flavor; it’s more subtle. It’s an ancient practice that produces a clean fire.”

Desserts on the menu at Current’s recent soft opening for family and friends included toasted milk soft-serve ice cream with a huckleberry compote, pistachios and biscuit crumble as well as a rich dark chocolate delice with mandarinquat, which is a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat, and black sesame.

The restaurant’s beverage program doesn’t get short shrift. Shelves filled with bottles stretch all the way up to the tall ceiling. There’s a lot to choose from – high-quality Japanese spirits and sake, a curated wine selection and imported Asian beers on draft. Cocktails will complement the menu’s flavors and ingredients and, like the food, will vary with the seasons.

The meticulous cooking that helped earn a James Beard award for Evans is evident at Current. The emphasis is on delicious, not pretentious, and no ingredient on the plate is without purpose.

Evans said choosing a name for the new restaurant was “actually the hardest part” of the venture and resulted from suggestions and collaboration.

“The word ‘current’ calls to mind different bodies of water,” he said. “We thrive off the Gulf Stream current, and the Sea of Japan has the Kuroshio Current.”

Beyond the Beard Award

Evans, a native of Muscle Shoals and an Auburn University graduate, said that winning the James Beard award was an unforgettable experience and a “nice way to validate all the hard work.”

“When I first learned about the awards, I said, ‘I want to win one of those one day, or at least be nominated,’” he said. “It still seems like a dream. It was an accumulation – a tribute to all the chefs I’d worked with and for, and it gives you a platform. But it’s also something to live

up to.”

He’s found an enthusiastic and appreciative audience for his skills in Birmingham. He credited Frank and Pardis Stitt, whose Highlands Bar and Grill won the James Beard award for best restaurant in 2018, for “paving the way for an exciting dining scene here.”

“What I’ve learned with Automatic is that if you provide good service and good value, Birmingham diners are overwhelmingly loyal – and very savvy,” Evans said.

If you go: Current Charcoal Grill is at 1625 Second Ave. S, Suite A, in downtown Birmingham. It’s open daily for dinner and will add lunch hours soon. The restaurant can accommodate up to 120 people at dual bars, a 70-foot-long banquette and expansive booths. There’s a lounge for pre- or post-dinner cocktails. For reservations and more information, visit currentcharcoalgrill.com or follow the restaurant on social media @currentcharcoalgrill.

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beverage program doesn’t get short shrift. Shelves filled with bottles stretch all the way up to the tall ceiling.

Baguley was named athletic director after more than 20 years at the high school, where he has been a teacher, coach and assistant athletic director.

Homewood Schools Name New Principal, Athletic Director

Homewood City Schools has promoted Mindy McBride to principal of Homewood Middle School and Rick Baguley to athletic director of Homewood High.

McBride begins her new job July 1. For the past five years, McBride has served as an assistant principal for instruction in the Homewood school system, the past three of those years at Homewood High. Before that, she taught and coached at Homewood High, including teaching science, social studies and advanced placement courses and leading the girls varsity soccer team to a state championship.

She has been named the school’s Teacher Impact winner as well as having been a top-four finalist for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Coach of the Year and Alabama Soccer Association’s Girls Competitive State Soccer Coach of the Year.

“It is clear that Mrs. McBride loves our students, staff, and this community,” school Superintendent Justin Hefner said in a statement from the system. “Her strong leadership

Baguley begins his new job June 1, succeeding Doug Gann, who is retiring after 33 years in education.

combined with her passion for empowering students will serve Homewood Middle School well.”

She succeeds Danny Steele, who is retiring as the middle school’s principal.

“Homewood is an integral part of my life and holds a special place in my heart,” she said in the statement. “This is where I started my career and raised my family, and I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this wonderful community. I am so excited to work alongside the amazing teachers, staff, and families of HMS to support, empower, and cheer on our students together.”

Baguley was named athletic director after more than 20 years at

Homewood High, Other OTM Schools Rank in U.S. News & World Report’s Best List

Homewood High School was graded the top high school in the Birmingham metro in U.S. News & World Report’s recent Best High Schools rankings.

Homewood High ranked third in the state and 294th nationally. Its overall score from U.S. News was 98.34 out of 100.

Following in the No. 2 spot was Mountain Brook High School, which ranked fourth in the state and 306th nationally, with an overall score of 98.27.

McBride begins her new job July 1. For the past five years, McBride has served as an assistant principal for instruction in the Homewood school system, the past three of those years at Homewood High.

the high school, where he has been a teacher, coach and assistant athletic director. He has coached boys basketball, golf and football, as well as boys and girls track.

During his time as assistant athletic director, Baguley has spearheaded initiatives such as Patriot Peer Connections, alongside tutoring coordinator Carol Chesnutt. He has orchestrated National Signing Days for athletes and families and led students producing content seen on the video board during football and soccer games at Waldrop Stadium.

“His passion for sports, education, and community engagement will be the driving force behind his efforts to empower our student-athletes to excel both on and off the field,” said HHS Principal Joel Henneke.

Baguley begins his new job June 1, succeeding Doug Gann, who is retiring after 33 years in education.

“I have always been proud to be from Homewood,” Baguley said in the statement. “As a Homewood alumnus and former athlete, it is a true honor to work with our coaches, students, and community. I am so excited to serve our community in a new capacity.”

The selections are based on a variety of factors, including graduation rates; college readiness; assessments of proficiency in science, reading and math; curriculum breadth; and underserved student proficiency. Coming in ahead of Homewood as Alabama’s No. 1 and No. 2 schools were Loveless Academic Magnet in Montgomery and New Century Tech Demo High in Huntsville.

Here are rankings for other Over the Mountain Schools Vestavia Hills High School: Placed third in the metro area, fifth in the state and 494th in the national rankings, with a score of 97.2. Spain Park High School: Placed

Hoover High Performing Arts Center Opens

Hoover City Schools celebrated the opening of the long-anticipated new Performing Arts Center at Hoover High with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 25.

The $15.4 million facility, which spans 36,000 square feet, marks a significant milestone for the district, according to a press release from Hoover schools. It addresses the longstanding need for a dedicated space to accommodate the high school’s performing arts students.

The event brought together district and school leaders, city officials, project developers, Hoover students and school staff.

“The Hoover Board of Education’s investment in the new Performing Arts Center underscores the district’s commitment to providing our students with the best resources,” said schools

Superintendent Kevin Maddox. “This state-of-the-art facility addresses the pressing need for more space to showcase our district’s performing arts programs. It symbolizes our commitment to providing students with unparalleled opportunities for artistic expression. As we embark on this exciting new chapter, we look forward to witnessing the countless performances and experiences that will enrich the lives of our students and community members alike.”

The new Performing Arts Center seamlessly integrates with the existing high school band room, connected by a hallway. It boasts 940 seats, an orchestra pit, a full theatrical lighting and sound package, a full-fly curtain loft, an on-site scene construction workshop directly behind the stage, and a fully automated theatrical rigging system.

Those at the event toured the arts center, where the high school’s cham-

ber choir, Grace Note, and its First Edition Jazz Band provided entertainment.

Hoover High senior Conner Hornsby, a First Edition Jazz Band member, said that before the arts center was built, student performances were in the gym, “so having a dedicated stage and auditorium where we can sound our best and the audience can comfortably enjoy the show is amazing. We have many talented bands, choirs and theater productions and need a place to really showcase that.”

Hoover schools Superintendent Kevin Maddox, left with Hoover Board of Education members Amy Tosney and Alan Paquette at the ribbon cutting ceremomy.

Hoover High Principal Jennifer Hogan said students are excited about the new Performing Arts Center.

“Our students win national and state competitions and now have a first-class facility to perform for the community,” Hogan said. “Today, we proudly unveil this state-of-the-art

facility, which exceeds the needs of our thriving performing arts department. I am confident that the opportunities afforded by this remarkable facility will inspire creativity, foster collaboration and elevate the artistic achievements of our students for years to come.”

The arts center will be available for student performances from schools across the district and available to lease for community performances and events.

Courtesy Homewood City Schools
fourth in the metro area, seventh in the state and 923 nationally, with a score of 94.77. Hoover High School: Placed seventh in the Birmingham metro area, 11th in the state and 1,139 in the nation, with a score of 93.55. Courtesy Homewood City Schools Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Shades Valley Rotary Names Scholarship Recipients

The Shades Valley Rotary Club recognized students awarded scholarships this year and their families during a recent luncheon.

The students mingled with Rotarians, introduced themselves and spoke about their career goals and college plans.

The Education Foundation of the club awarded a total of $60,000 this year in one-year scholarships of $6,000 each for tuition, fees and books to graduating seniors from Shades Valley High School, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, Mountain Brook High School, Homewood High School and John Carroll Catholic High School.

This year’s scholarship winners were Margaret Rodgers, Hoover High; Marlee Banks, JCCHS; Katherine Smith, JCCHS; Taryn Billups, JCIB; Sofian Laouzai, JCIB; Wyatt Mattson, JCIB; Caileigh Moose, JCIB; Cowan Moorer, MBHS; JaNaya Sanders, SVHS; and Jaikyliah Ravizee, SVHS.

Candidates were judged on academic achievement, extracurricular and leadership activities, written essays, financial need and performance in an oral interview with a scholarship committee of Rotary Club members.

The foundation also provides a stipend to the Friends of the Botanical Gardens for its summer intern position, in which a graduate student in the field of horticulture assists the Gardens’ staff and advances their education with fieldwork. Over the years, the foundation has awarded more than 300 scholarships. John Feagin serves as club chairman of the foundation and Michael Gross is the foundation’s treasurer.


From page 32

playing in the MLS Next youth soccer program in Nashville.

“They offered me a chance to play up there for about a year,” Jackson said.

Homewood has benefitted from the experience he gained playing in

the MLS Next program.

“It was the hunger and energy he brought once he came out,” Kersh said. “He has worked so hard to get to the level he’s at. Talent can take you only so far. You have to have that drive and determination. That’s why he’s had the success he’s had.”

Jackson has aspirations of playing professionally.

“That would be great,” he said.

“I’m just going to see where soccer takes me.”

Jackson is headed to Wake Forest to play in college, choosing the Demon Deacons over North Carolina. He’s the first player from the Homewood boys program to sign with an Atlantic Coast Conference school. He picked Wake Forest after visiting the campus.

“The community up there is great,

it has a beautiful campus and the soccer team has a very welcoming culture, which I like, and you can talk to the coaches,” he said.

As his high school career began winding down, Jackson became more reflective.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” he said. “I hate that I have to leave high school. I appreciate the Homewood community and Homewood High


The day after the Patriots’ firstround playoff victory against Pell City, Jackson said he hoped to leave as a state champion.

“I think if we’re at our best, we can beat anybody,” he said. “But everyone on the team has to step up and we need to be on the same page with the same priorities to play at our best.”

In the little moments and major milestones of childhood, we are here for our patients and their families – helping, healing, teaching and discovering.

Childrens AL •org
Brand_HERE_BabyHand_OTMJ_10.375x6.25.indd 1 11/29/22 5:10 PM
Shades Valley Rotary Club scholarship recipients, above, from left: Sofian Laouzai, Jaikyliah Ravizee, JaNaya Sanders, Caileigh Moose, Cowan Moorer and club member John G. Beard. Below, Wyatt Mattson, Margaret Rodgers, Katherine Smith, Taryn Billups, Marlee Banks and club member John Feagin. Journal photos by Jordan Wald


From page 32

close to it,” Aaron said. “It’s not

Rebels senior John Michael Yanosky won No. 2 singles, junior

‘We worked hard, and we knew we were ready for the state tournament.’

Andrew Pipkin won No. 3, senior Brayden Helms won No. 4, junior Louis Kolettis won No. 5, and junior Parker Liu won No. 6.

The Rebels also won two of three doubles titles with Helms, who is headed to play in college at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, and Yanosky claiming the No. 1 doubles title while Pipkin and Kolettis won at No. 3. Florence’s team of Jake Champion and Jack

White beat Vestavia’s Ben Cusmariu and Bedwell, 6-4. 2-6, 10-6 in the No. 2 doubles final.

“Winning eight of the nine courts is outstanding,” Aaron said. “We had gone 15-0 (on the opening day), so we put ourselves in position to win.”

Rebels Girls Dominate

Vestavia Hills’ girls were almost as dominating, capturing four of the six singles titles and one doubles crown as they won their 13th overall state championship. The Rebels finished as runners-up in 2023.

The Rebels’ singles winners were Kensley Outzen at No. 2, Caroline Helms at No. 3, Peyton Standifer at No. 5, and senior Riley McClain, who is headed to Millsaps College, at No. 6. In the No. 2 doubles finals, Helms and Wynn Strudel pulled out a 4-6, 7-5, 10-6 win over Auburn’s Victoria Choo and Sophie Smith.

“There was such great competition, so my girls really had to play their best,” Rebels girls coach Timarie Fisk said. “We told them nothing was going to be easy and

they had to give 100 percent effort.

“We had a young team with only one senior, four juniors and a seventh grader, Peyton Standifer, at No. 5. They really wanted to win. They finished second last year and knew how it felt not to win, so that really motivated them.”

Fisk was glad to see the Rebels boys and girls sweep.

“When you win it as a coach by yourself, it’s good, but winning it with another coach from your school makes it very special,” she said.

Class 7A Results

Boys Team Scoring

1. Vestavia Hills 58, 2. Florence 26, 3. Auburn 20, 4. Hoover 16, 5. Bob Jones 14, 6. Montgomery Academy 9, 7. Fairhope 4, 8. Daphne 0

Boys Singles

No. 1: Luke Bedwell, Vestavia Hills d. Porter Hornigold, Fairhope, 6-0, 6-1

No. 2: John Michael Yanosky, Vestavia Hills d. Jonah Moro, Bob Jones, 6-1, 6-3

No. 3: Andrew Pipkin, Vestavia Hills d. Jason Wang, Auburn, 6-1, 6-0

No. 4: Brayden Helms, Vestavia Hills d. Cade Black, Florence, 6-2, 6-3

No. 5: Louis Kolettis, Vestavia Hills d. Shin Kim, Auburn, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 14-12

No. 6: Parker Liu, Vestavia Hills d. Wyler Washburn, Hoover, 6-3, 6-2

Boys Doubles

No. 1: Brayden Helms/John Michael Yanosky, Vestavia Hills d. Cohen Joiner/Cade Black, Florence, 6-4, 6-3

No. 2: Jake Champion/Jack White, Florence d. Ben Cusmariu/Luke Bedwell, Vestavia Hills, 6-4. 2-6, 10-6

No. 3: Andrew Pipkin/Louis, Kolettis, Vestavia Hills d. Jackson Plugge/C.L. Colby, Hoover, 6-2, 6-3

Girls Team Scoring

1. Vestavia Hills 41, 2. Auburn 30, 3. Huntsville 27, 4. Montgomery Academy 20, 5. Hoover 13, 6. Fairhope 10, 7. James Clemens 4, 8.

Daphne 0 Girls Singles

From page 32

cult road to capture another crown.

Mountain Brook’s girls and St. Paul’s girls advanced to the doubles finals tied with 66 points each – after splitting the singles championships 3-3. The Spartans won No. 1 and No. 2 doubles championships while St. Paul’s won No. 3 doubles title, enabling Mountain Brook to claim the school’s 33rd state championship overall and its seventh straight title since 2017 by a slim 72-69 margin.

“There was a lot of pressure on the girls,” Farlow said. “Some may think

we didn’t play our best, but they found a way to win. They’re champions and know how to compete when it matters.”

In the boys competition, Mountain Brook’s other singles winners were Guy Mitchell at No. 3, Gayden at No. 4, Hews Goodson at No. 5 and George Dumas at No. 6.

Farlow was pleased to have Goodson, a junior, on the team. He rejoined the program after training with Van Der Meer Tennis Academy in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, last year.

“The addition of Hews Goodson made our team stronger,” Farlow said. “I was excited to see him win.”

Trinity’s James Treadwell won the No. 2 singles title, beating Mountain Brook’s Thomas Austin 6-7 (4), 6-4, 10-5 and was the only player other than a Spartan to win an individual state title in the tournament.

The Spartans’ other doubles winner were the duo of Guy and Thomas Austin at No. 2 and the tandem of Goodson and Dumas at No. 3.

Girls Bounce Back

The girls singles competition provided the shocker of the tournament and season with St. Paul’s sophomore Emma Jane Hamilton snapping Mountain Brook senior Pippa Roy’s unbeaten streak as a high school netter at 35 consecutive victories a 6-1, 6-4 win in the semifinals. Hamilton’s victory prevented Roy from becoming just the seventh female tennis player in AHSAA history to be a four-time state champion.

“Pippa had been nursing a wrist injury and wasn’t able to play in good matches late in the season and that hurt her in a sense in getting ready in tough matches before state,” Farlow said. “But that doesn’t take anything away from Emma. That girl played really well. I’m giving Emma all the credit.”

Hamilton went on to win the No. 1 singles title, beating Madison Academy’s Jaedyn Martin 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.

Roy bounced back from the singles loss, teaming with senior Annie Lacey to knock off Hamilton and Emme Clement 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 1 doubles semifinals 6-4, 6-3 and then defeating McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Juliet Galla and Clare LaCour in the doubles final 6-3, 6-0.

For Roy and Lacey, it was their third straight Class 6A No. 1 doubles title. For Roy, it was her fourth. She teamed with Emma Karcher in 2021 to win the Class 7A No. 1 doubles title.

“Pippa is a champion,” Farlow

No. 1: Gabby Barrera, Montgomery Academy d. Mazie MacGrotty, Huntsville, 6-4, 6-4

No. 2: Kenley Outzen, Vestavia Hills d. Mae Mae Voltz, Montgomery Academy, 6-4, 6-3

No. 3: Caroline Helms, Vestavia Hills d. Lola Campbell, Montgomery Academy, 6-1, 6-1

No. 4: Kristina Hwangpo, Hoover c. Hanbi Youn, Auburn, 6-2, 6-1

No. 5: Peyton Standifer, Vestavia Hills d. Emie Little, Huntsville, 6-3, 6-1

No. 6: Riley McClain, Vestavia Hills d. Jiyeon Park, Auburn, 6-3, 6-4 Girls Doubles

No. 1: Gabby Berrera/Mae Mae Voltz, Montgomery Academy d. Mazie MacGrotty/Abby Brown, Huntsville, 6-1, 6-1

No. 2: Caroline Helms/Wynn Strubel, Vestavia Hills d. Victoria Choo/Sophie Smith, Auburn, 4-6, 7-5, 10-6

No. 3: Shreya Ejantkar/Naomi Hanks, Auburn d. Sophie Shearburn/ Emie Little, Huntsville, 6-1, 2-6, 10-6.

said. “After she lost, she got refocused, and she and Annie said we’re not going to go out like this. They played fabulous tennis.”

Mountain Brook’s Ann Royal Goodson won the No. 3 singles title, Mae Mae Lacey won at No. 5, and Mary Jackson Darnall won at No. 6. The Spartans’ Annie Lacey was runner-up at No. 2 and Mary Neale Polk was runner-up at No. 4.

The Spartans’ Ann Coleman and Mae Mae Lacey won the No. 2 doubles championship, winning a backand-forth match against Northridge’s Kate Thom and Alexandra Salekin 6-2, 2-6, 13-11 and securing Mountain Brook’s title.

Class 6A Results

Boys Team Scoring

1. Mountain Brook 84, 2. Hartselle 39, 3. Spanish Fort 37, 4. Northridge 30, 5. Trinity Presbyterian 28, 6. Briarwood Christian 23, 7. St. Paul’s Episcopal 20, 8. HillcrestTuscaloosa 16, 9. McGill-Toolen Catholic 14, 10. Muscle Shoals 13, 11. Gardendale 11, 12. Mortimer Jordan 10, 13. Decatur 4, 14. Fort Payne 2, 15. Hazel Green 2, 16. Pell City 2

Boys Singles Finals

No. 1: Luke Schwefler, Mtn Brook

d. Reid Collins, Hartselle, 6-1, 6-1

No. 2: James Treadwell, Trinity d. Thomas Austin, Mtn. Brook, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 10-5

No. 3: Guy Mitchell, Mtn. Brook

d. J.C. Foster, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, 6-1, 6-1

No. 4: Max Gayden, Mtn. Brook

d. Nash Thoms, Spanish Fort, 6-3, 6-2

No. 5: Hews Goodson, Mtn. Brook

d. Lanny Wang, Spanish Fort, 6-2, 6-2

No. 6: George Dumas, Mtn. Brook

d. Drew Claytor, Northridge, 6-1, 6-1

Boys Doubles Finals

No. 1: Max Gaydosh/Luke Schwefler, Mtn Brook d. Samuel

Treadwell/James Treadwell, Trinity, 6-2, 6-1

No. 2: Guy Mitchell/Thomas Austin, Mtn. Brook d. Jack Miller/ Nash Thomas, Spanish Fort. 6-1, 6-1 No. 3: Hews Goodson/George Dumas, Mtn. Brook d. Marc Cera/ Zeke Priola, Hartselle, 6-1, 6-1

Girls Team Scoring

1. Mountain Brook 72, 2. St. Paul’s Episcopal 69, 3. Northridge 33, 4. Hartselle 30, 5. McGill-Toolen Catholic 29, 6. Muscle Shoals 25, 7. HillcrestTuscaloosa 20, 8. Trinity Presbyterian 16, 9. Pell City 15, 10. Cullman 13, 11. Madison Academy 10, 12. Fort Payne 9, 13. Gardendale 6, 14. Briarwood Christian 6, 15. Pike Road 4, 16. Spanish Fort 2

Girls Singles Finals

No. 1: Emma Jane Hamilton, St. Paul’s d. Jaedyn Martin, Madison Ac., 6-3, 6-3

No. 2: Grace Swain, St. Paul’s d. Annie Lacey, Mtn. Brook, 6-3, 6-0 No. 3: Ann Royal Goodson, Mtn. Brook d. Emme Clement, St. Paul’s, 6-1, 6-3

No. 4: Pearce Graf, St. Paul’s d. Mary Neale Polk, Mtn. Brook, 6-2, 5-7, 10-3

No. 5: Mae Mae Lacey, Mtn. Brook d. Livy Ferguson, St. Paul’s, 6-2, 6-0

No. 6: Mary Jackson Darnall, Mtn. Brook d. Miller McLeod, Hartselle, 6-3, 6-1

Girls Doubles Finals

No. 1: Pippa Roy/Annie Lacey, Mtn. Brook d. Juliet Galla/Clare LaCour, McGill-Toolen, 6-1, 6-0

No. 2: Ann Coleman/Mae Mae Lacey, Mtn. Brook d. Kate Thom/ Alexandra Salekin, Northridge, 6-2, 2-6, 13-11

No. 3: Livy Ferguson/Martha Teague, St. Paul’s d. Isabella Gautney/Carmen Williams, Muscle Shoals, 6-4, 6-1

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just him,
guys it’s a year-round sport.”
but for all our other

Road Warriors

Mountain Brook, Hoover Still Chasing Baseball Titles

Mountain Brook and Hoover kept their AHSAA baseball state championship playoff hopes alive, while Spain Park saw its season end in a crushing defeat.

The No. 3 Spartans (29-6) swept Mortimer Jordan on the road Friday in their best-of-three Class 6A second-round series, rolling to a 12-2 victory in Game 1 and rallying for a 5-4 victory in Game 2.

Hoover went on the road and knocked off Hewitt-Trussville 6-2 in the decisive third game of their Class 7A first-round series last Saturday after the teams split the first two games on Friday.

Spain Park meanwhile suffered a heartbreaking 13-12 loss at Thompson in Game 3 of their Class 7A first-round series.

Spartans Sweep

Mountain Brook trailed Mortimer Jordan 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 but scored twice to pull out the victory and complete the sweep. James Graphos delivered a runscoring double to tie the score and Bennett Love singled home Trey Vinson with the game-winner.

Reliever Ty Shotts pitched the final 4 1/3 innings, allowing a hit and striking out five to earn the win.

In Game 1, the Spartans jumped to an early lead in the first inning and cruised. Pitcher John Robicheaux had a two-run triple and Love had an RBI single to highlight a three-run first.

Caleb Barnett, an Alabama commit, was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs and Sam Estes was 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs.

Robicheaux went the distance, allowing two

runs and four hits while striking out eight in a game shortened to six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Mountain Brook had lost to Mortimer Jordan 9-6 in its final regular season game.

“We played better,” Spartans coach Lee Gann said. “Any time you play well in all three phases you have a good chance to win.

“Mortimer Jordan has a good team and is well coached. It was a tough round, but we’re glad to be moving on. It’s always good to be playing in May.”

Mountain Brook opened the playoffs by eliminating Muscle Shoals in three games.

The Spartans will visit Oxford (29-9) this week in a best-of-3 quarterfinal series. Oxford swept Buckhorn, 7-4 and 7-2, in the second round.

Mountain Brook and Oxford haven’t met since the Yellow Jackets swept the Spartans in the second round last year en route to winning the 2023 Class 6A state championship.

“Oxford has a very good baseball team and they are playing well,” Gann said. “But this is a whole different year with a different mindset. I don’t have to do much motivating. We’ll be ready to play.

“If we get good pitching, play great defense, be opportunistic offensively and do a good job of running the bases, we’ve got a chance.”

Hoover Prevails

Two seniors paved the way as Class 7A No. 7 Hoover (24-16) eliminated No. 5 Hewitt (27-9) with a victory in Game 3.

Pitcher William Andre faced the minimum in the first three innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. Carter Jackman had two hits and knocked

in two runs.

“Those are two of our seniors that come to work every day,” Hoover coach Adam Moseley said. “William has probably been our most consistent pitcher since spring break. He works hard every day. Carter has been hurt most of the season, but he continued to battle through things.”

Sophomore shortstop Jaxson Wood, who has committed to Tennessee, singled, doubled and scored twice in the Game 3 win.

The Bucs earned a 2-1 victory in Game 1 on Jackman’s clutch twoout, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning. Hewitt evened the series with a 12-2 rout in Game 2.

Spain Park’s Blake Patrick pitching against Thompson in the deciding game of the series on Saturday.

Hoover will host ninth-ranked James Clemens (30-10) in the second round. James Clemens swept Grissom, 7-6 and 8-6, in the first round.

Spain Park Falls

Spain Park and Thompson staged a threegame slugfest in their series, but it was the final swing of the bat that sank the Jaguars in extra innings.

Spain Park scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 12-9 lead in the deciding Game 3, but Thompson junior Ma’Kale Holden, an

Alabama commit, came to the plate with the bases loaded and belted a grand-slam home run over the left-field fence on a 3-2 pitch to give the Warriors a stunningly dramatic 13-12 victory. The series saw the teams combine to score 70 runs. Spain Park (26-12) won the opener 17-8 and Thompson (28-10) won 11-9 in Game 2. Thompson advances to face top-ranked Bob Jones (37-6) in the second round. Bob Jones swept Sparkman 4-2 and 4-0 in the opening round.

by Jordan


Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2006 (U8-U19)

Dates: May 6-8


Boys & Girls: Ages 2012-2006 (U13-U19)

Dates: May 13-15


Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2013 (U8-U12)

Dates: May 17-18


Boys & Girls: Ages 2017-2013 (U8-U12)

Dates: May 20-22

All dates open to ALL PLAYERS from ANY CLUB!

Journal photo Wald


Road Warriors: Mountain Brook, Hoover

Still Chasing Baseball Titles; Spain Park Falls in a Heartbreaker PAGE 31

Rebels’ Sweep Class 7A State Tennis Championships

Vestavia Boys Claim Third Straight Crown; Girls Win Second Title in Three Years

Vestavia Hills junior Luke Bedwell didn’t intend to sound like a broken record, but he did repeat the same hard work theme while explaining how the Rebels won their third consecutive Class 7A state tennis championship and he won his third straight individual title.

“We put in a ton of work in the offseason and during the season,” Bedwell said. “We worked hard, and we knew we were ready for the

state tournament. It was not a solo thing but an overall team thing.”

The hard work showed.

Vestavia Hills won all six singles matches as the Rebels claimed the 7A boys title with 58 total points in the 79th AHSAA State Tennis Championships on April 22-23 at Mobile Tennis Center.

Florence finished second with 26 points and Auburn was third with 20.

The state title was the ninth for the Rebels boys program in school history.

“We felt good going in,” Vestavia Hills boys coach Oliver Aaron said. “We knew there would be strong competition. During the regular season, we try to put them in situations where they face tough competition so they would be ready for the state tournament. They played well under pressure.”

Vestavia Hills girls won their second title in three years, scoring 41 points to finish ahead of 2023 champion Auburn, which had 30 points. Huntsville was third with 27 points and Montgomery

Academy fourth with 20. In the boys competition, Bedwell won No. 1 singles, beating Fairhope’s Porter Hornigold 6-0, 6-1. It was Bedwell’s first title at No. 1. He won the No. 2 singles in 2023 and No. 5 singles in 2022.

“Winning No. 1 felt good,” Bedwell said. “I felt good going in ‘cause I put a lot of work in.”

Aaron also alluded to Bedwell’s work ethic.

“He’s always on the tennis courts, if not 365 days a year, then

See VESTAVIA, page 30

Spartan Boys ‘Dialed In and Ready to Compete’

Mountain Brook’s Boys, Girls, Take Different Routes to Claim Class 6A State Tennis Titles

Luke Schwefler doesn’t plan to play tennis in college, so that made what happened last Friday even more special for the Mountain Brook senior.

Schwefler beat Hartselle’s Reid Collins 6-1, 6-1 in the Class 6A boys No. 1 singles final, helping the Spartans win their second consecutive state championship and 28th overall in the 79th AHSAA State Tennis Championships at the Mobile

The individual title was Schwefler’s third singles state crown but his first at No. 1. He won at No. 3 in 2021 and at No. 2 in 2022 but finished as runner-up at No. 1 in 2023.

“It’s tough to win No. 1,”

Schwefler said. “It takes a lot of hard work, practicing and spending a lot of time on court. I’m so happy it turned out the way it did, especially being a senior.”

Schwefler also teamed with Max

Gayden to win the No. 1 doubles title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Trinity Presbyterian’s brother tandem of Samuel and James Treadwell.

Schwefler is headed to Auburn for college but not to play tennis.

“I thought about trying to play in college, but I am going to just be a student,” he said. “I might play on a club team. This was my final high school match, so that’s what makes it special.”

The Spartans’ boys dominated the competition, winning five of the



Jackson’s Skill Set Paying Major Dividends for Homewood Soccer Team

Even though he was part of two state championship teams as a player, Homewood soccer coach Julian Kersh wouldn’t put himself in the same class with current Patriots senior Will Jackson (pictured).

“I wish I was half the player Will J is,” said Kersh, who played on Homewood’s 2005 and 2006 boys title teams. “He’s got a talent level that you only expect to see come through a program a couple of times. Everything seems to come so naturally to him. He can do incredible things with the ball.

“This season he’s been more a midfielder, so he’s not scoring as many goals, but that doesn’t mean he’s having less of an impact.”

Jackson was extremely impactful in Homewood’s first-round Class 6A playoff game last Friday. He scored three goals for his first hat-trick of the season and had an assist as the Patriots routed Pell City 10-0.

Homewood (18-2-3) was scheduled to meet Mountain Brook (21-4-1) in the second round on Tuesday night.

Jackson led the Patriots in goals as a sophomore and junior. This spring he has scored 20 goals and has 12 assists.

Jackson began playing soccer shortly after learning how to walk. His father, Todd Jackson, introduced him to the sport. Todd Jackson played in college at Furman University, but Will Jackson said his father didn’t force him to become a soccer player.

“I played a couple of different sports,” he said. “I played basketball for five or six years, but I fell in love with soccer in my own way.

six singles titles and all three doubles titles to finish with 84 points. Hartselle was a distant second with 39 points and Spanish Fort third with 37.

“I’m so excited for our boys,” Mountain coach Susan Farlow said. “They were definitely dialed in and ready to compete. It was a great tournament for our boys.”

While the Mountain Brook boys won convincingly, the Mountain Brook girls had a much more diffi-

See SPARTANS, page 30

“What I love about it is it is one of the only sports where you get to use just your feet all the time. I also feel like soccer is an art, an expression of being yourself on the field.”

Jackson’s dad did help him develop as a player.

“My dad just being with me mentally, and also technically, just playing soccer, just comforting me and just being a dad has been really helpful,” he said.

This is Jackson’s third year on the Patriots’ varsity. He didn’t play on the 2021 state championship team his freshman year because he was See JACKSON, page 29

Tennis Center.
Thursday, May 2,
Journal photo by Jordan Wald

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