Page 1







Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Underground Home in Vestavia Hills Goes on the Market for the First Time In Over Two Decades Davenport’s Pizza co-owners Yates Norris and Amanda Thames, above, announced last week they would be opening a new location in Vestavia Hills in 2022.

Davenport’s Pizza Palace to Open Second Location, at Vestavia City Center

Journal photos by Lee Walls

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

French Forbes Jr., above, with photos showing the construction of his underground home. Right, skylights of opaque glass built into the roof bring in natural light to the back rooms.

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw


f you were to catch French Forbes Jr. mowing his lawn, you may be surprised to see his John Deere on the roof. According to Forbes, the property at 2624 Acton Road looks like a normal house from the street. But, in fact, the three-bedroom, two-bath house is subterranean. “When people would ask where I live, I used to say I live in a hole in the ground over on Acton

See FORBES, page 16

Jim Davenport’s Pizza Palace officials on July 8 announced via social media that the company will be opening a second location, at the Vestavia City Center. In less than 24 hours, the announcement had gathered hundreds of likes on Instagram and Facebook. It should be no surprise, as the original restaurant has been a fixture in Mountain Brook Village since 1964 and owned by the same family for three generations. “It’s been great to see,” said co-owner Amanda Thames. “We knew there would be some excitement, but this has blown us away.” Thames co-owns Davenport’s with her cousin Yates Norris, both grandchildren of Davenport’s founders, Rex and Ardyce Hollis. After surviving a rough pandemic year, Davenport’s is looking forward to a bright future. “We’re glad to have 2020 behind us,” she said. “Our customers were so supportive throughout that year, but we know people are excited to get back out into the community and get back to normal.”

See DAVENPORT’S, page 6

2 • Thursday, July 15, 2021




Murphy’s Law

Help Wanted (No, Seriously…We Need Help)

T NEW LEADER AT SHADES George Wright named Senior Pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church PAGE 6

FEEL GOOD FOOD New restaurant in Hoover caters to health-conscious diners PAGE 8

PARTY IN THE USA Vestavia’s I Love America Night features festivities and fireworks; Fourth of July festivities take over downtown Homewood PAGE 10

A PIECE OF CAKE Daughters Baking set to open new storefront in Mountain Brook Village PAGE 20


he cheery automated voice at the one-woman sandwich show. I felt a litairline phone center thanked me tle guilty just standing there. OK, more for my patronage, then said that, than a little guilty, I mean, spreading happily, my wait time would be less butter on bread is within my skill set than two hours. Two hours. It reminded and I was doing nothing. me that I could handle many of my air When my children were small, I travel needs on their handy dandy webcould only avail myself of the church site, but I was hoping to pay with an nursery if I took a turn being a nursery e-ticket/loyalty points combination, and worker. Maybe getting sandwiches I didn’t have a clue how to proceed. I should only be open to people who volneeded the assistance of an actual unteer to work behind the counter once human being and, allegedly, a knowla week. edgeable individual would be happy to We could set up a volunteer business Sue Murphy oblige … in less than two hours. auxiliary, you know, a listing of people To me, a two-hour wait time is a who would be happy to fill in for a shift clear indication that you do not have here and there just to keep the enough workers in place, but it may wheels of commerce running. We could set up a not be the airline’s fault. “Help Besides buttering bread, I am good at Wanted” signs have popped up cleaning and organizing. (I had two volunteer business everywhere. They need help at the teenage daughters who, unaided, auxiliary, you know, a would have lived in rooms unfit for bakery and the carwash and every fast-food establishment in existence. listing of people who human habitation.) I’d be less helpful Some businesses are trying to sweetlifting heavy objects or fixing would be happy to fill atcomputers en their employment deal by offering or driving a stick shift, so signing bonuses or college tuition or, in for a shift here and the auxiliary would have to place me at the very least, free Wi-Fi. Gov. accordingly. there ... Ivey added a stick to this carrot and Of course, it would be far better cut off extra unemployment benefits. to fill the slots with dedicated full The message from all corners is timers, so if you are seeking legiticlear: We need help. mate paid employment, jump in! Right now, the world is This help can’t come soon enough. Poor Ms. Barbara your oyster. As a side note, if you currently work for one at the Post Office is doing the work of three people and, of those scam call lines or spend your days hacking into while she couldn’t be nicer, the office behind her is in U.S. infrastructure, take this opportunity to avoid prosedisarray, so much so that the chronic organizer in me cution and upgrade your moral status. Really, it would be wanted to jump the counter and say, “Here, let me help.” a win/win. I didn’t, or else you’d be receiving this post from my I think I’ve proven that I wouldn’t be all that helpful room in some federal penitentiary, but just the same, I behind the airline help desk, so I’m hoping somebody was ready and willing to pitch in. out there will fill that slot, and soon. I won’t showcase I fought the same urge at the deli, where one harried my bread-buttering talents at the deli just yet, either, but worker was trying to take orders, make sandwiches and if the Business Auxiliary Team (BAT) signal shines forth haul the trash out to the curb all by herself, a veritable over Vulcan, I’m on my way.


otmj.com With everything that’s happening “Over the Mountain,” it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we have launched the OTMJ newsletter. Published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - we’ll give you a quick recap of the latest news, sports and social events as well as a heads up on upcoming events so you won’t miss any of the interesting and fun happenings in the Greater Birmingham metro area. To sign up for our newsletter, visit otmj.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too.

Over the Mountain Views A Fourth Festival Tradition

July 15, 2021 JOU RNAL Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Emily Williams-Robertshaw, Sam Prickett Intern: Mary Gullage Photographer: Jordan Wald Sports: Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls, Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald, Gail Kidd Vol. 30, No. 23

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2021 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Members of the Knights of Columbus Council 4304 spent the week grilling several thousand pounds of meat for bulk purchase. Above, from left, Bill Jacka Jr., James Alan Owen, Clark Tucker and Fred Ross man the BBQ pit.

Dubbed Birmingham’s longest-running Independence Day celebration, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church’s 72nd annual Independence Day Festival was held July 1-3. While the event typically includes a rummage sale and community activities, event organizers decided to stick to serving up barbecue this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the Knights of Columbus Council 4304 spent the week grilling several thousand pounds of meat for bulk purchase. In addition, council members and church volunteers served take-out plates of meats and side dishes alongside a bake sale featuring whole cakes and individual desserts. The grand marshal for this year’s festival was OLS’ the Rev. Martin M. Muller, and the annual Ernie Eltz Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to OLS parishioner John Carney.



Check with individual merchants to see their sale options. When: Check with individual merchants Where: Mountain Brook Village Website: mtnbrookchamber.org

Park in the Park

The Dixie Vintage Antique Automobile Club and Friends of Avondale Park have teamed up with the Avondale Merchants Association to host a juried car show. Awards will be handed out to best original cars, trucks, street rods, modified cars and more. Festivities include food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, door prizes, music by DJ Ronnie and more. When:

9 a.m.-3 p.m. Website: “Dixie Vintage Antique Automobile Club” Facebook page

65, 45 and 34 miles; and 9 a.m., 10 mile and family ride Where: Cahaba Cycles Homewood location Website: cahabacycles.com

Sun., July 18 Le Tour de Cahaba

Pink Palace Casino Night

Flicks Among the Flowers

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama’s annual Vegas-style fundraiser will feature a variety of casino games, hors d’oeuvres by Kathy G & Company, live music and more. Funds raised will help the BCRFA in its mission to fund local breast cancer research.


be streamed online for those who cannot attend. In addition, an online silent auction will feature more than 250 pieces of art from July 16 at 9 a.m. until July 18 at 6 p.m. Funds raised will support the organization’s mission to provide a career path and studio space for more than 50 adult artists with autism spectrum disorders. When: 7-8 p.m., live auction Where: Clubhouse on Highland Website: studiobythetracks.org


When: 7-10:30 p.m. Where: Soiree Event Gallery Website: bcrfa. networkforgood.com

Wed., July 28

Sat., July 24

Cahaba Cycles will host its annual race, including five route options: 65 miles, 45 miles, 34 miles, 10 miles and the Slow Your Roll Family Ride (less than 5 miles). A post-ride cookout will be hosted at the Homewood store. In addition, $3 from each registration will be donated to the Children’s of Alabama SHINE clinic. When: 7 a.m.,


Studio By the Tracks will host its annual art auction in a hybrid format this year, including a limited-capacity VIP in-person live auction which will

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 3


The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Junior Board will host its annual summer event featuring a showing of the movie “Grease” in the Formal Garden benefiting the Friends’ of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ internship program. The event will include a fifties-themed costume contest. When: 6 p.m., gates


Through July 31 Roaring Twenties

The Red Mountain Theatre presents this immersive theatrical experience, with patrons traveling through the arts campus in small pods to watch various performances and even take part in the shows. Performances will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. When: 7:30 p.m., 7:50 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. (nightly) Where: Red Mountain Theatre Arts Campus Website: redmountaintheatre.com

Through Aug. 1 Summer Film Series

The Alabama Theatre’s annual summer movie series will continue with showings of “9 to 5,” July 16, “The Princess Bride,” July 18; “The Color Purple,” July 23; “The Wizard of Oz,” July 25; “Steel Magnolias,” July 30; and “The Sound of Music,” Aug. 1. Doors open one hour before showtime and screenings begin with a singalong with the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. When: showtimes vary Where: The Alabama Theatre Website: alabamatheatre.com

Sat., July 17 Market Day

What: Mountain Brook Village presents its 20th annual Europeanstyle tent sale giving villagers a chance to open their doors to customers new and old and offer them sales and other opportunities.

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ABOUT TOWN open; movie starts at dusk Where: Birmingham Botanical Gardens Website: bbgardens.org/ flicks-among-the-flowers

July 29-Aug. 8 “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.”

Mountain Brook Village’s 20th Annual

Market Day

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Virginia Samford Theatre’s VST Stars players will perform this beloved children’s story on the theatre’s MainStage, following the tale of a young mermaid named Ariel who longs to leave her ocean home. When: Thurs.Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. Where: Virginia Samford Theatre Website: virginiasamfordtheatre.org


Retro Run 5K

The Trak Shak will host its annual 5K run, featuring race participants decked out in “retro” attire, ranging from disco gear to 90s style grunge. An awards celebration following the race will include food from Oak Hill Bar & Grill, cold beverages from Birmingham Budweiser and live music by local band Jenni’s Mixtape. Registration for the run is $40 and tickets and tickets for the after party only are $10. When: 7 p.m., race start Where: 18th St., in front of Homewood Sporting Goods Website: runsignup.com/race/al/homewood/ thetrakshaktwilightretrorun

Virtual Sci-fi/Fantasy Fest

Fri., July 30 Glow for a Cure

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama’s Junior Board will host its annual night golf tournament, featuring nine holes of golf, a break for dinner and then nine more hold of night golf with lighted balls, tees and greens. Funds raised will benefit the junior board’s Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UAB. When: 5-10:30 p.m. Where: Highland Park Golf Course Website: alzca.org/glow

A Night in Hollywood

Sat., July 31

Our Hope International, a Birmingham based non-profig organization that supports Ugandan special needs orphanage Home of Hope, will host its third annual gala featuring food and dessert, a silent auction, a DJ, dancing and more. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: B&A Warehouse Website: ourhopeinternational.com/annual-gala

The Hoover Library will host its annual SciFi/ Fantasy Fest in a virtual format this year, featuring panel discussions covering science fiction, fantasy and pop culture along with an appearance by horror novelist and festival veteran, Grady Hendrix. Panels will be viewable via Facebook and YouTube. When: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Website: hooverlibrary.org

Downtown Homewood Sidewalk Sale

The merchants of downtown Homewood and the Homewood Chamber of Commerce will host the 10th annual Sidewalk Sale, with the sidewalks lined with tents featuring sales and discounted items. When: 10 a.m. Where: downtown Homewood Website: homewoodchamber.org

Otey’s Fest

Otey’s will host its 12th annual street festival, featuring food, music and more. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: Otey’s Tavern Website: mtnbrookchamber.org

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Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 5


Wishing and Swishing

Rotary’s Annual Tailgate Fundraiser to Feature Cornhole Competition The North Alabama Rotary District 6860’s annual Boiling ‘N Bragging tailgate event benefiting the Critical Care Transport team at Children’s of Alabama will take place Aug. 21 at Otey’s Tavern with a new addition. This year’s event will feature a cornhole tournament between the 51 Rotary Clubs of Rotary District 6860. Clubs from across the state – including Lafayette, Madison, Boaz, Florence, Tuscaloosa Morning, Jasper, Smith Lake and Anniston Noon – will join other Birmingham-area clubs – including Trussville Daybreak, Birmingham Sunrise, Birmingham Sunset, Vestavia Hills, Vestavia Hills Sunrise and Shades Valley – to compete for the Boiling

‘N Bragging cornhole title. Local clubs will be promoting their team to raise funds in support of the Critical Care Transport program, which makes more than 900 annual trips across the state and beyond, delivering injured and ill children to Birmingham through the air and over the road. Additional funds will support local Rotary programs that impact the 37 communities across North Alabama Rotary District 6860. Supporters can make donations for their favorite Rotary Club Cornhole Team at boilingnbragging.org   Donations will be evenly split between the local Rotary Club selected by the donor and Children’s of Alabama.


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6 • Thursday, July 15, 2021


George Wright Named Senior Pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church Shades Mountain Baptist Church has spent the past 24 years with the Rev. Danny Wood at the helm. But a new senior pastor is coming to the church after Woods’ retirement and will be joining the staff Aug. 16. The Rev. George Wright is joining Shades Mountain from Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, where he had pastored for the past four years. Wright and his family traveled to Birmingham June 27 to introduce themselves to parishioners, and he preached at two Sunday services. Following the evening service, Wright and Wood sat down for a “Get to Know You” session, during which Wood spoke about his experiences, his family and his faith. “We could not be any more excited,” Wright said. “What God has done in our family and in our lives these last few months has been a true gift from the Lord. “We are thrilled to join the family here,” Wright added, “and we can’t wait to get started.”

DAVENPORT’S From page one

Introducing a Novel Bite

Davenport’s celebrated its 57th anniversary in May, a testament to the founders who introduced pizza to Birmingham. Rex Hollis developed a love of pizza while traveling for business in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The only issue was that he couldn’t get it in his hometown. According to the Hollis family, Rex noted that there was only one place in Alabama where you could order pizza in those days – Shakey’s. So, he decided to build a pizza palace across the street from his home on Brook Manor Drive in Mountain Brook Village. Rex wanted the name of the res-

Forbes said he spoke with recruiters this past winter and saw a place and a church culture that spoke to his entire family. He said, he envisioned

Photo courtesy Shades Mountain Baptist Church

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

‘We are thrilled to join the family here, and we can’t wait to get started.’ REV. GEORGE WRIGHT spending many years serving and building on a facility that operates with a solid foundation in the community. “We’re thrilled with the place God has brought us,” Steve Foster, chairman of the pastor search committee, said in a release. “It’s with great anticipation God will continue his work through Shades Mountain Baptist Church under George’s leadership.” After Wright joined Shandon Baptist in 2016, he put racial reconciliation at the forefront of the church’s mission. He said the church sits on an “invisible line” in Columbia that divides a highly affluent community from a low-income area, and the church had a history of catering mainly to

taurant to garner immediate recognition, so he named it after his childhood friend Jim “Peanut” Davenport, a professional baseball player with the San Francisco Giants and native of Siluria. While the name was eye-catching, people in the community didn’t know very much about pizza, and the restaurant was not quick to catch on. Rex and Ardyce would work 90-hour weeks, perfecting their recipes as well as walking pizzas to surrounding neighbors to introduce people to the new dish. Thames grew up spending summers at the restaurant with her grandparents. “My grandmother would take us to the restaurant, and we would play the arcade games and eat in the booths while she worked,” Thames said. “Then, I worked as a server while I was in high school, mostly during the

Making the move to Birmingham with Wright will be his wife of 20 years, Megan, and their four children: Brody, 15; Anna Beth, 13; Everett, 9; and McKenna, 17.

the more affluent side of town. During his tenure, he saw a rise in diversity among parishioners shift from about 95% white to about 80% white and 20% minority. “That has been a tremendous blessing to experience, but it also brings a lot of challenges,” Wright said. “There are a lot of opinions when you start to talk about racial reconciliation and there’s a lot of passion on all sides of this

summers but a little bit during the year.” When Ardyce passed away in 2000, the couple’s daughters Heather Norris and Dianne McDanal began

‘We’re a young family with young children and it’s (Vestavia City Center) the exact kind of place that we would take our kids when we are going out to eat.’ AMANDA THAMES

running the business with Rex until his death in 2009. After her mother’s sudden death in 2010, Thames was asked to join the family business and take over accounting duties, where she worked

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conversation. We have just sought to do everything we could to make sure that the Gospel was the center of that conversation.” Making the move to Birmingham with Wright will be his wife of 20 years, Megan, and their four children: McKenna, 17; Brody, 15; Anna Beth, 13; and Everett, 9. Wright’s first sermon as senior pastor of Shades Mountain is scheduled for Sept. 12.

in tandem with Norris, who passed away in 2019. The restaurant’s recipe for success is a dedication to consistency and tradition, according to Thames. The world around may be ever-changing, but the pizza dough, sauce and house salad dressing remain the same concoctions created by Ardyce Hollis. “Almost everything has remained the same, and we try to keep it that way,” Thames said. “We know that customers have been eating here for decades and we want it to feel the same for them each time they come.”  

Second Try in Vestavia

Back in the ‘80s, Davenport’s had a location in Vestavia Hills that was quite successful, but the restaurant had to be closed when the building was sold. “People still to this day ask about the Vestavia Davenport’s and talk about it, so it is exciting to be able to say that we are coming back to Vestavia,” Thames said. The family has been discussing opening a second location for many years, but the pieces to the puzzle had not fallen into place until owners began touring the recently renovated Vestavia City Center. “It is just the perfect fit for us,” Thames said. “We went there a few times while we were exploring it as an option and we were blown away by the atmosphere.” Managed by Crawford Square Real Estate Advisors, the space was overhauled just before the pandemic. A patio area was covered in synthetic turf and outfitted with TV’s and seating to create a community gathering space. “We’re a young family with young

children and it’s the exact kind of place that we would take our kids when we are going out to eat,” Thames said. Thames and her husband, Britt, former member of the Homewood City Council, have two young sons. While the plans are still being developed, there is a clear vision of the atmosphere the Vestavia Hills Davenport’s will offer diners. “We want to keep as much the same as possible,” Thames said. They will be serving up the same menu of salads and handmade pizza dough and sauce piled with toppings in a setting reminiscent of the original location. The original location is known for its walls filled with photos of celebrities and athletes, red vinyl booths, gingham table cloths and decor reminiscent of an Italian cafe, right down to the empty Chianti bottles. “We’re definitely planning on having an arcade area, which our customers want and expect,” Thames said. Just as at the original location, the arcade area will host children’s birthday parties and after parties for Little League baseball teams. “The movie theater is right next door, which is a perfect fit,” Thames said. “A parent can drop of their kids and they can get a pizza and go watch a movie.” The space won’t be an exact replica of the Mountain Brook restaurant; some of the amenities at the city center will offer new dining experiences. “We’ll have that patio, so we will be able offer outdoor seating,” Thames said. “We’re also hoping to have some TVs, so people can enjoy watching sporting events while they are eating.” While details are still in the works, the new location will be opening in 2022.


Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 7


Senior Safety: I Got the COVID-19 Vaccine – Now What? COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out across the United States as all adults are now eligible. Since seniors were some of the first to receive the vaccine, many are now fully vaccinated. With this added layer of protection against severe disease, older adults may be wondering what that means for socializing and getting back to some of their favorite activities. It is important to note that being vaccinated does not guarantee 100% protection against COVID-19; however, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are up to 95% effective at preventing severe disease and minimizing symptoms. Seniors can still get sick, but the risk is much lower. Masks should still be worn when out in public places, especially indoors where ventilation may be poor. In addition, social distancing guidelines should continue to be followed in these situations as well.

So, what can fully vaccinated seniors do? You can visit with small groups of family or friends without masks if they have also been vaccinated. If you are visiting with people who have not been vaccinated, try to limit it to one household outside of your own at a time.

are able to spread the virus to others. Although you can enjoy more relaxed guidelines, you should continue to pay attention to recommendations from the CDC. It is better to err on the side of being overly cautious. Remember to do what makes you feel most comfortable. It is your choice who you choose to socialize with or where you choose to go. But now that you are fully vaccinated, you may feel a little safer getting together with loved ones and doing more activities that you enjoy.

You can begin traveling again without having to quarantine or get tested. Many seniors have been isolated for months, so being able to spend time with and hug loved ones can provide a much-needed boost in mental health. Talk to your family and make sure that everyone is comfortable with the plans put in place. Some families may be fine with being in close quarters inside while others prefer to socialize outdoors. Some senior centers and other organizations are starting to host various activities again. They may

have limited spots open, but you can get back to enjoying book clubs, art classes, exercise groups,

Many seniors have been isolated for months, so being able to spend time with and hug loved ones can provide a much-needed boost in mental health. and other social gatherings. Be sure to follow the safety protocols they have in place regarding masks and

social distancing. You may decide to form your own “pod” of friends that you meet with each week because everyone takes similar safety precautions. You can plan different trips and activities that you want to do together. This can help you slowly ease back into to society and increase socialization.

Adjusting to a New Normal There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to COVID-19 and whether vaccinated individuals

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eggie and Michelle Torbor enjoy bringing people together. The couple figure one of the best ways to do that is over a meal. “We love people, and we love food, and we believe the best things happen when you put the two together,” Reggie Torbor said. So, on April 30, the husbandand-wife team opened Taproot Cafe in Hoover. It was an idea that had

Reggie Torbor is a former Auburn football player, NFL linebacker, and Giants Super Bowl champion. Michelle Torbor is a licensed professional counselor and owner of Cardinal Wellness. taken root some time ago. “My husband enjoys cooking,” Michelle Torbor said. “Back when he was playing football, he said it would be cool to own a little food shop one day. He said that because of a sandwich deli we used to go to. “One of his friends who he grew up with had a small business and we thought about going into business with him on a smoothie shop. But we decided to go our separate ways, but then we started tossing around some ideas and decided on this.” Taproot is at 5190 Medford Drive, Suite 124, next door to Jubilee Joe’s. It serves smoothies, salads, sandwiches and toasts. It also focuses on locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets and food makers. “We believe that this route is

before Taproot opened. The restaurant specializes in the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables by keeping it as simple as possible. Rather than creating a smoothie with sugar-laden syrups or ice cream, the unique flavors of the fruits and vegetables are paired with natural sugars such as wildflower honey. “Adding a bunch of sugar to fruit is like dousing a good steak with A1,” Michelle Torbor said. “It’s just a no-no, and you miss the natural goodness.”

Reggie and Michelle Torbor opened Taproot Cafe on April 30.

Management Is the Challenge

Feel Good Food New Restaurant in Hoover Caters to Health-Conscious Diners

worth it,” Michelle Torbor said. “Playing our part in the sustainability of people, the environment and our local economy is worth it. We want to see others understand their power to make a difference, as well.” The health-conscious and community-focused concept is a natural extension of its owners. Reggie Torbor is a former Auburn football player, NFL linebacker and Giants Super Bowl champion. He currently serves as a motivational speaker and

personal development manager at Brasfield & Gorrie. Michelle Torbor is a licensed professional counselor and owner of Cardinal Wellness, which specializes in anxiety and trauma treatment. “I just imagine a mom who is trying to be healthy coming here after her workout at the YMCA up the street with her kids, and she can order something wholesome and delicious that keeps her on track.” Reggie Torbor said. Michelle Torbor agreed, adding,

“Yeah. Good food they can feel good about putting into their bodies, and that sense of purpose — knowing that when they visit us, they are playing a part in making a difference for real people, whether that is staff, farmers and their families, or our other partners who work hard to make a living.” The Torbors do the menu planning and Michelle’s brother Eric Myers is the general manager. He is a former Hoover police officer who retired from the force a month

Photo courtesy American Cancer Society

By Mary Gullage

Serving as event chairs for Hope in the Ham are Adelaide Vandervelde, Tricia Golden, Mary Elaine Jolly and Wendy Barze.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald


By Rubin E. Grant


Running a restaurant has been a learning experience for the Torbors, especially making sure the daily operations run smoothly. “We’re learning the ins and outs as much as we can,” Michelle Torbor said. “So, it’s the daily operation, getting it to where the food is fast and consistent. And we’re learning about managing people. “We’re also trying to work with suppliers locally, farmers and others, on the inventory, making sure we get the things we need.” Taproot partners with local growers and curators throughout Alabama, including Ireland Farms in Alpine, Hamm Farms in Cullman, Smitherman Farms in Clanton, Eastaboga Bee Company in Lincoln and Birmingham Breadworks, which is owned by Brooks Taylor on the Southside. The restaurant is beginning to find its niche since opening. “Business is going well,” Michelle Torbor said. “We’re as busy as we can possibly be, seeing how we’ve never been in the restaurant business before. There’s been a ton to learn, but we’ve gotten great support from others in the restaurant business. We’ve found there’s a need for faster, healthier food.”

Bluegrass and BBQ

during their cancer treatments. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, health orders required the facility to close its doors for a time and shift its focus to serving as a place of respite for local health care work-

The homegrown fundraiser Hope in the Ham will return this year for its Hope in the Ham to Raise fourth year. The event will take Funds for American Cancer place July 15 at the venue Society’s Hope Lodge in the Retail Specialists building, on Southside Birmingham at 2200 Magnolia Ave. S. ers.  Funds raised will support the American Funds raised at the event will directly benefit Cancer Society’s Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge.  the many patients who see the facility as a “home Serving as event chairs are Adelaide away from home” during their treatment.  The theme for the 2021 event is “Bluegrass Vandervelde, Mary Elaine Jolly, Tricia Golden and Wendy Barze. Vandervelde said the chairs are and BBQ,” with catering by Saw’s BBQ and a expecting a great turnout for this year’s event.  live bluegrass performance by “The Mountain “After an unprecedented year of staying at Grass Unit.” The band features Mountain Brook home, the chairs and I are thrilled to gather for High School students Drury Anderson, mandolin this event and we know it will be an enjoyable and vocals; Luke Black, acoustic guitar and night to benefit the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge,” banjo; and Sam Wilson, upright bass. Vandervelde said. For more information and tickets, visit gala. Hope Lodge opened in 2000 and offers 33 acsevents.org/hopeintheham. Tickets are $50 per guest rooms for patients and caregivers to use person.


Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 9


Fiesta Ball Week Highlights Mexican and Tex-Mex Fare to Support O’Neal Cancer Center ing experience and other items. Tickets are required for the event and can be purchased online at uab. edu/fiestaball, where guests can select the meals they wish to purchase during the week. Funds from ticket sales will benefit both the restaurants selected and the cancer center.

MBHS Class of 1995 to Host 25th Year Reunion Sept. 11 After having to delay for a year because of the pandemic, the Mountain Brook High School Class of 1995 will be hosting its 25th Reunion on Sept. 11. The event will take place at Otey’s Tavern in Crestline Village from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Festivities will include

live music, appetizers and football games shown on large TVs. In addition, a silent auction will be held featuring pieces created by local artists who are MBHS alums, with proceeds benefiting the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation. To buy tickets and for more information, contact Roxane Mackin at roxanemackin@yahoo.com or visit the “MBHS Class of 1995” Facebook page. Tickets are $35 per person.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

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In light of the ongoing pandemic, the Young Supporters Board for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has transformed its annual fundraising ball into a weeklong food festival taking place at various restaurants in the Birmingham area from July 17 to July 24. The event will not only raise funds for cancer research at the cancer center but also support local restaurants, which have been affected in many ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. The board has partnered with local Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants that will offer special Fiesta Ball Week

Participating establishments include Sol Y Luna (above), El ZunZun, Little Donkey, Craft’s on Church Street, La Paz and all locations of Taco Mama.

individual and family meals ranging from $35 to $75 per meal. Participating establishments include Sol Y Luna, El ZunZun, Little Donkey, Craft’s on Church Street, La Paz and all locations of Taco Mama. In addition, a silent auction will be available online, featuring a variety of items and experiences, including tickets to the 2021 Barber Vintage Festival and Magic City Classic, a Jones is Thirsty wine tasting, a hunt-


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10 • Thursday, July 15, 2021

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Party in the USA

From left, Alex Denning Lee, Jennifer Hunter, Anne Graham and Drew Rushing.



THE VESTAVIA HILLS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S annual I Love America Night returned to Wald Park this year, held June 24 in conjunction with the unveiling of the park’s newly constructed Grand Lawn. Festivities began with a ribboncutting ceremony for the lawn, conducted by city officials. According to Mayor Ashley Curry, the plans for the new lawn were years in the making. Efforts to create a plan and gather public comments began as early as 2012. “It finally came to fruition, and people will enjoy this park for years to come,” Curry said at the event. After the ribbon-cutting, the event ramped up with activities that included a vendor tent area featuring lawn games, free swimming at the Wald Park Aquatic Center and a kids zone offering inflatables and other activities on the nearby baseball fields. As the sun set, the Shades Mountain Baptist Church Orchestra, led by Dr. Joel Davis with sound director Ryan Maynard, performed a Pops in the Park concert beneath the grand lawn’s open air pavilion. Festivities concluded with a fireworks display.

Vestavia’s I Love America Night Features Festivities and Fireworks; Fourth of July Festivities Take Over Downtown Homewood

Kate Leyden, Ella James, Libby Tunnell and Abby Hardwick.

Kendra, Mamie, Reynolds, Mary Frances and Trent Weaver.

Front, Jane Cupp, Mary Moran, Cary Coreno, Kate Coreno and Anne Robbins. Back, Anna Coreno and Haley Cupp.

Kiera Gafford and David Miller.

Grant, Addie Kyle, Willow Grace and Jami Jones.

Vivi and Emily Ferrell.

Courtney Estes and Jeanne Anne Love.

Tyler, Beth, Carnes and Avery Bradford.


Journal photos by Jordan Wald

The city of Homewood and the Homewood Parks and Recreation Board celebrated Independence Day by hosting the community’s annual Fourth of July Festival in Downtown Homewood. Parts of 18th Street South and 29th Avenue South were blocked off in downtown Homewood to make way for a variety of inflatables, carnival rides and other activities and games, as a DJ provided music. The evening concluded with guests setting up chairs and watching the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show.

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 11


Christopher, Blake, Kennedy and Hanna DeGroat.

Smokey, Ladd, Cecilia and Danielle Davis.

Zoe, Tae, Lauren and Atlas Phillips.

Jenna, Eli, Mary Elizabeth and Lee Gantt.

Tina Green, Jacquie Carter, Naeleta Brown and Hedy Fitts.



Journal photos by Jordan Wald

12 • Thursday, July 15, 2021

Matthew Parker, Helen Drennen and Gip Plott.

Bridgeways of Alabama CEO Nancy Meadows and Events Coordinator Patty Bromberg.



Bridgeways Junior Board Organizes Concert Fundraiser at Avondale

vondale Brewing Company was transformed into a boho-inspired music festival venue June 24 as Bridgeways of Alabama’s junior board hosted the ninth annual S’mores and Pours fundraiser. A feast was served up by Taco Mama as guests

From left, Elle Forrester and Nancy Forrester.

were treated to Avondale Brews and the chance to snag a variety of items in a silent auction and raffles. In addition to a variety of pop-up shops from local vendors, the evening included a concert featuring local band T.U.B. – The UnKnamed Band. Lights and sound for the event were provided by

Millie Piggott and Carlisle McCullough.

McDowell. Funds raised at the event will benefit the organization’s mission to ensure local youth have access to safe in-school learning programs, summer camp programming and support programs and initiatives for children, youth and families. ❖

Raegan Spencer, Kristin Snowden and Jessica Kridds.

Sophie Eckert and Zach Herbert.




Members of the Coronets Dance Club gathered on the outdoor golf patio at Vestavia Country Club on June 15 for a summer cocktail party. Beverages and appetizers were served alongside table arrangements of sunflowers in vases surrounded by artificial grass, enhancing the golf course setting. The event was planned by Marsha McCarty, Debbie Visintainer and outgoing President Marsha Hire.  Those in attendance were Edna and Ken Alderman, Cathie and John Amos, Linda and Spencer Bachus, Nancy and Pat Boone, Redonda and Lowell Broom, Marti and Frank Buck, Cheree and Eric Carlton, P. A. Carmichael, Patty and Norman Clay, Bettie Davenport, Carolyn and Jim Delk, Susan and Steve Dobbs, Patty and Wynn Echols, Nelle Freeman, Pat Garlikov, Linda and Mike Gooldrup, Jean and David Hendrickson. Also attending were Marsha and Don Hire, Sandra and Elam Holley, Glenda and Ronald Jones, Rusty Kirkpatrick, Marsha and Buford McCarty, Carol and Phillip Powell, Sally and Bob Stanley,

Photos courtesy Coronets Dance Club

A Celebration Fore Summer Coronets Hosts Cocktail Party on the Golf Course

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 13


Above, from left, Debbie Visintainer, Marsha McCarty, Jean Hendrickson and Pat Garlikov. Below, Carol and Phillip Powell, Cathie and John Amos and Linda and Spencer Bachus.

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How Are You Doing?

This is a question that I hear often as well as “how is Bayshore doing?” For instance I recently received a call from one of our first clients. It is also interesting that he lives in Michigan and has kept up with the happenings in our life. Through his life challenges over the past 10 years he developed an addiction to opiates and plans to come to Bayshore Retreat for help. I, personally, can’t wait to see him. I regret the reason I will see him, but it proves what I’ve said many times that there is a bonding that happens there. Obviously he could choose from thousands of other rehabs, but he chose us. Clients come from all over the country and sometimes I marvel at how they find us one little dot in a sea of rehabs. Most clients do a great deal of research before choosing a rehab. For instance one family researched over a hundred for their son and found that about 85% of them had 12-step meetings as their program. This is one area we differ greatly. We provide about 30 hours of counseling weekly. It is in the form of individual at least twice weekly, group counseling everyday except Saturday (that’s a day for fun such as deep sea fishing or some other activity), and Life Skills coaching which covers such topics as Irrational Thinking, Relationships, and six other real life issues. Finally, with only six clients at a time and the holistic approach to health; Bayshore Retreat offers clients a better chance to get healthy and stay healthy. Clients love it at Bayshore Retreat because it’s different and this can make a difference.

In Memory

GBHS Junior Board Hosts Sips for Strays Event to Benefit Project Pet Safe Program

In spring 2020, just days before pandemic shutdowns, the Young Professionals Board of The Greater Birmingham Humane Society had to cancel an event planned to honor the late Megan Montgomery, a founding member of the board. On June 26, the board was able to finally host the Sips for Strays fundraiser at Cahaba Brewing Company. The family- and dog-friendly event was inspired by Montgomery’s vision as well as her love of animals and devotion to GBHS. Proceeds ben-

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Rehab Reality...



From left, Rod and Susann Clark with Shelly and John Peed.

Chelsi Davis and Maddie Hughes.

Grace Self and Brooke Garrison.

efit the GBHS Project Pet Safe in memory of Montgomery. A festival of local vendors providing food, shopping and activities included Candy Cane Studios, Beautifully Timed Co., Crave Candles Co., Cicada Candle Co., Skeeve Co., Made Simple, Butter Sugar Flour Co., A Barker’s Dozen, SoulShine by Pamela, Woodlawn Jewelry Co., Buttnaked Candles, Premium Products, Audacious Reign Designs, Artwork by Kaitlin, Emily Johnson Woodworking, Studio 264 Designs, I Got Wood, Trailer Park Photos, Elise Elagory and Electic South Vintage. GBHS’ Project Pet Safe is aimed at taking care of pets as their humans try to escape domestic violence situations or try to overcome hardships such as homelessness, hospitalization or financial emergencies. ❖

Summer Young and Lauren Murphy with friends.

Play That Funky Music Smile-A-Mile Junior Board Hosts Annual Funky Monkey

Food, drinks and entertainment were on the menu as Smile-A-Mile’s Junior Board hosted its annual Funky Monkey fundraiser June 18 at Regions Field. Festivities included an online silent and in-person live auction, beer and wine raffle, an Avani Rupa “Ring Bling” Raffle and more. Music for dancing was provided by Blackberry Breeze, and guests took breaks from the dance floor to take pictures in a photo booth. Held in the ballroom of the facility, the window offered a view of nearby Smile-A-Mile Place. Funds raised at the event will benefit the organization’s mission to provide year-round meaningful and educational programming to those in Alabama who are affected by childhood cancer during treatment and beyond. ❖

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

14 • Thursday, July 15, 2021

From left, Megan Stephens, Kayla Fisher, Kala Knox, Casey Reamer and Abby Southerland.

Daniel, Lia and Michelle DiGuglielmo.

Beth and Bruce Hooper.

Sharon and Walter Brown.


Schlichting-Ross Mr. and Mrs. William Schlichting of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, announce the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their daughter Elizabeth Schlichting to Mr. Hunter Ross of Mountain Brook. Mr. Ross is the son of Michael and Hilary Ross of Mountain Brook. Miss Schlichting is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schlichting of Callicoon, New York, and Mrs. Arvis Dalton and the late Mr. Arvis Dalton of Cleveland, Ohio. The bride-elect is a graduate of

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 15

WEDDINGS & ENGAGEMENTS The University of Alabama, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science and was a member of the Chi Omega social sorority. She obtained a Master of Business Administration at The University of Alabama and is employed at UAB Medicine in oncology research and is a member of the Junior League of Birmingham. The future groom is the grandson of Dr. Charles Howard and the late Mrs. Charles Howard of Decatur and the late Mr. Lanny Ross of Montgomery and the late Ms. Geraldyne Hutchinson Ross of Montgomery. He is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and The University of Alabama, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science and was a member of the Sigma Chi social fraternity, receiving the Jason’s Senior Men’s Honorary distinction. He obtained a Master of Business Administration and is employed at Protective Life, as well as holding membership in the Society of Actuaries and on the Junior Board of the Robert E. Reed Foundation. A wedding celebration is set for July 24 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Harkins-Davis Valerie Taylor Harkins and John Baskervill Davis were married Jan. 9, 2021, at Mountain Brook Baptist Church. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Bruce Wayne Splawn Jr., followed by a reception at The Florentine. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Malcolm Harkins of Mountain Brook. She is the grand-

daughter of Mrs. Carol Colee Womer and the late Dr. Walter Womer Jr., and Mr. William Melvin Harkins and the late Mrs. Julia Smith Harkins, all of Auburn. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Baskervill Davis of Vestavia Hills. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. James Pickney Dobbins Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Perry Everett Davis, all of Vestavia Hills. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a Diana Kelly gown from Heidi Elnora’s Build-A-Bride Collection. The modified ballgown was made from Mikado silk with a deep V-neckline, a natural waistband, flat front skirt and chapel-length train with buttons. The bride chose to pair her gown with a Pilar veil. Attending the bride as maid of honor was her sister, Colee Ann Harkins. Bridesmaids were Margaret Russell Bromberg, Leonie Anna Fay, Kristin Victoria Garner, Jordan Leigh Hughes, Jennifer Lauren McCarthy, Allison Kate Moody, Elizabeth Carol Niedermair, Shana Lee O’Brien, Kristina Elizabeth Pruitt, Lauren Henderson Remley,

Alexandra Nancy Skene, Marion Gray Sumrall, Jane Jordan Valliant and Margit Patricia Woller. Serving the groom as best man was his father, Donald Baskervill Davis. Groomsmen were Francis Donald Appaluccio, Parker Watson Beck, Cole Hudson Graham, Payton Gann McGinnis, Charlie Daniel Moses, Adam Dale Neill, Kyle Alan Oliver and Matthew Christopher Weider Jr. After a wedding trip to Sugar Beach in St. Lucia, the couple resides in Hoover.

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To have our wedding & engagement forms sent to you, call: 205-823-9646 or email: editorial@otmj.com To: From: Date:

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16 • Thursday, July 15, 2021


FORBES From page one

Road, down under with the chipmunks,” Forbes said with a laugh. He would delight in the confused looks he received before giving an explanation.

When a roofing company calls to ask if he would like a free inspection, Forbes is all too happy to tell them his roof has been hanging over his home for 37 years, and it’s still green. Who needs a roofing company when yours is composed of concrete reinforced with steel rebar. “The deer walk up there at night and nibble at the grass, which fertilizes it,” Forbes said. “I’ve really got a pretty good deal going with them.” Forbes said the home has served his family well for 27 years, but it’s time to move on. He recently made the decision with the help of his three children – Laura McClellan, French Forbes III and Heather Forbes – to put the house on the market following the death of his wife, Mary Anne Hall Forbes, in early May. The family has been sifting through decades of memories as they

Journal photos by Lee Walls

Forbes grandfather, E. E. Forbes, founded Forbes Piano and Organ Co. in downtown Birmingham in 1889, and it remained a family business for four generations before being dissolved in 2009.

The kitchen is large, with plenty of counter space, a large island and the nearby dining room has enough space to accommodate Mary Anne Forbes’ dining table, which seats 12 people.

say goodbye to one of the most interesting places Forbes has called home.

Living in the OTM

Forbes has lived in the Over the Mountain area for much of his life. His grandfather, E. E. Forbes, founded Forbes Piano and Organ Co. in downtown Birmingham in 1889, and it remained family owned and operated for four generations before being dissolved in 2009. The company’s legacy includes supplying pianos for acclaimed pianists from around the world, includ-



ing Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Nat King Cole, Jim Brickman and Billy Joel. Forbes’ father, French Forbes Sr., built a home in Vestavia Hills near the water tower on Shades Crest Road. “He was one of the people who signed the papers to incorporate Vestavia Hills as a city,” Forbes said. When he began his own family, Forbes and his wife spent time living in both Homewood and Mountain Brook’s Cherokee Bend neighborhood, along with a stint in Montgomery where Forbes’ ran one of the piano company’s showrooms. Homes would occasionally catch Forbes’ eye as he conducted business, including a home near Indian Springs he fell in love with while visiting a neighboring homeowner to possibly purchase a piano. The family moved in and enjoyed the home, but the location was not ideal. Forbes had an hour-long commute along Highway 31 in order to get to his office downtown. The family decided to move to Vestavia Hills and snatched up a home right off Panorama Drive, where they remained for rest of the kids’ schooling. “We had been wanting to move off of the street we lived on in Vestavia Hills, but I really wasn’t thinking about a house like this,” Forbes said. “Back then, this was kind of out in the country.” He stumbled upon the opportunity for a subterranean house through his friend Bill Gayle. The two met through their mutual love of flying and kept their planes at the same space in Shelby County. Gayle designed and built the Acton home for himself and his wife. He decided to sell the house after he established a private airport near Harpersville and built a large house on that land. “I was looking at a piano that a lady down the street from him owned and I noticed Bill’s car was in his driveway,” Forbes said. “I went over as he was coming down the driveway, and he said, ‘Come on in, let me show you my bomb shelter.’” Gayle commenced a tour of the home, which became a sales pitch that Forbes relayed to his wife. To his surprise, Mary Anne Forbes wanted to take a look at the house. “When my wife walked in the front door, she walked right into the kitchen, took one look at it and said, ‘I want this house,’” Forbes said.

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“She had not seen any other room.”

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Large and Light-Filled


Journal photo by Lee Walls

The kitchen is large, with plenty of counter space, a large island and space for Mary Anne Forbes’ father’s antique table with an inlayed delicate blue design featuring trees. Guests enter the home and are met with an entry and dining area big enough to accommodate a 12-seat dining table that Forbes’ wife purchased for family gatherings. To the right is a living area that features a large brick fireplace and a retro wooden bar. One of the first things Forbes did after buying the house was to have barstools built to match. Just off of the living area is what Forbes calls the library, an office space where his wife kept her library of books as well as their Steinway piano. To the left of the dining area is a hallway leading to a guest bathroom and two guest bedrooms. The master suite at the end of the hall has a fireplace and sitting area and a large walk-in closet with double sinks and vanities. The master bathroom offers a few extras, such as a bidet, jacuzzi tub and a shower that doubles as a steam room. Off the master is a large sunroom lined with dark wood and terracottacolored tile. Plants thrived in the room, according to Forbes. His wife even kept a tree in the space that grew to such heights they had trouble moving it out of the room.

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 17


Through the years the father and son team of Mike and Hayden Wald have helped hundreds of clients make the move you’re considering. They’ve developed effective strategies to make the process of downsizing much easier and their marketing strategy will help you to maximize your sales price. Forbes recently stumbled upon a photo his wife took of horses grazing on the roof. You can still catch sight of few deer on the roof when the time is right.

‘When the sun is out, there is more light in this house than you would get in a normal home.’ FRENCH FORBES

“Whenever we had snow on the ground and it was below freezing, this room never got below about 53 degrees,” Forbes said. “Then when the sun came out and hit the tile, it would get up to 85 degrees in here. You could open the bedroom door and let the heat back into the house.” Skylights of opaque glass built into the roof bring in natural light to the back rooms. “When the sun is out, there is

Mike and Hayden have assembled a team of experts to help you with each step along the way. They work hard so you don’t have to. As you’ve probably heard, it’s a seller’s market and your home is likely worth more than you think!

Call Mike and Hayden to discuss making life easier with a new home that better suits your lifestyle.

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See FORBES, page 18

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18 • Thursday, July 15, 2021

From page 17

more light in this house than you would get in a normal home,” Forbes said.

The couple also created bonus space shortly after moving in. A shed behind the house, originally used to house a plane that Gayle had been building, was transformed into a two-bedroom, one-bathroom guest house.

Celebrating 53 Years ESTABLISHED 1967 fine FABRICS for living

Woodland Neighbors

Living underground wasn’t a huge lifestyle change for the couple. One of the only hurdles they had to embrace were their woodland neighbors. Some nights, Mary Anne Forbes would hear a pawing on the skylights and would be sure someone was trying to break into the house. “I’d walk up to the roof and shine a spotlight and all of these little green eyes would light up,” Forbes said. While the culprit was almost Celebrating 53 Years always a deer, there was one instance ESTABLISHED 1967 when a large barred owl decided to leave its roost in a nearby tree and crash into the skylight above their fine FABRICS for living master bedroom’s sitting area. Due to the thick concrete exterior walls and roof surrounded by earth, the Forbes swears his wife, who was home is quiet. That’s a big bonus with Interstate 459 nearby. at the time quietly reading, jumped almost to the ceiling. Though he didn’t believe it at the horses on the roof,’” Forbes said. He time. time, Forbes’ wife also caught a few was sure she was mistaken. With the building of the horses grazing on the roof one day. It wasn’t until the family began Colonnade, the area began to develop “She called me one day from the cleaning out the house that Forbes and grow, recently seeing the addition guest house and said, ‘We’ve got stumbled upon a photo his wife took of the Patchwork Farms development of the horses on the roof. and Lifetime Fitness. “The property one down from our Due to the thick concrete exterior next-door neighbors is a wooded lot walls and roof surrounded by earth, now, but it used to be a pasture,” the home is quiet. That’s a big bonus Forbes said. with Interstate 459 nearby. While the house has remained “Never in my wildest dreams did I ew nventoRy much the same and you can still catch think I would live in an underground sight of a few deer when the time is house,” Forbes said. Yet the home aRt, antiques right, the landscape surrounding the served him well until late June, when Gifts & DecoR home has evolved. he made the move to Danberry at Summer Hours: Tues. - Fri. 10:30-5:00 pm “When we first moved out here, Inverness. 1820 Greensprings Highway 322-5878 (or by appointment) you could count the cars going by,” The home is now being prepped to 2790 BM Montgomery Street www.kingcottonfabrics.com Forbes said. The home was in uningo on the market, awaiting a new Homewood, AL • 205.460.1224 corporated Jefferson County at that owner looking for an adventure.

Roman BRantley


1820 Greensprings Highway 322-5878 www.kingcottonfabrics.com



Janet Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 Feb.

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the May 31, 2018 issue.

Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

To: From: Date:

Thank you for your prompt attention.

Linda Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 July This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the July 15, 2021 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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

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

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Journal photo by Lee Walls


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Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 19

Journal photos by Jordan Wald


At the June 17 GBAHB Parade of Homes kick-off party at this year’s Ideal Home, in Hoover, were, from left, Jessica Harbin, Kaylee Schlabach, Danny Richardson and Peggy Turner.

Winners Announced for 2021 Birmingham Parade of Homes

The Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders’ annual Parade of Homes tour was held over two weekends in June, featuring 18 new houses constructed with the latest design and building techniques. Awards were handed out June 17 at a kickoff party at this year’s Ideal Home, in Hoover’s Heatherwood neighborhood and constructed by Centennial Homes LLC. A juried competition named 13 of the homes Gold award winners. Designations were earned based on a number of criteria, including overall curb appeal, exterior design, interior floor plan and flow, individual room designs, special fea-

tures, overall quality and innovation. “Our Parade homes were spectacular once again this year,” said GBAHB Executive Director Alicia Vincent. “This year’s houses were beautiful and full of new technology and design trends.” Gold winners in the Over the Mountain area included Signature Homes, for Bennett 1B in Green Trails, Barnsley 1B in Abingdon by the River and Langston 1B in Blackridge, all in Hoover; AGH Homes for Main Level Living in Vestavia Hills’ Southbend; and Wedgeworth Construction for The Woodlands in Vestavia Hills.

Paige and Alan Briggs.

Cathy and Andrew Barber.

Judy Kirkland, Cher Dulaney, Gina Jackson and Melanie Williamson.

The Rug Bug Design

Sam and Nadine Maalouf, pictured above, recently opened The Rug Bug Design showroom at the Outlet Shops of Grand River. The Maaloufs, residents of Hoover, first started selling rugs in a small booth at Hanna Antiques Mall in downtown Birmingham. The success of this business lead them to open a second retail  store at The Shops of Grand River. “Our availability for rugs is virtually limitless, with access to over 25,000 rugs from all over the world, so we have much to offer even beyond what we have right here in our inventory,” Sam said.  He also says, “the rugs are available at outlet pricing.” The rugs are sold in volume with inventory available in all types of hand-knotted rugs  and each come from a specific city and each city represents a certain design, including tribal rugs from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the borders of Iran. Follow and like The Rug Bug Design on Facebook and Instagram @therugbugdesign. The Rug Bug Design is open Mon. -Sat. from 11a.m. to 7p.m. and Sun., noon to 6p.m. Their phone number is 205-470-7777. Email: therugbugdesign@gmail.com.

Shops of Grand River



Daughters Baking Set to Open New Storefront in Mountain Brook Village

Journal photo by Jordan Wald. Cake photo provided.

Mallory Webb will open Daughters Baking on July 29 in the space between Bromberg’s and Ousler’s Sandwiches.

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw


allory Webb knew she wanted to one day own her own business, but she never envisioned in her youth that she would one day own a bakery. It wasn’t until she was well into her studies at Samford University that she found she had a knack for the pastry arts. “I hated science in school, but somehow I just connected with baking,” Webb said. Cut to 2021, and Webb is now the owner of Daughters Baking, a bakery that began with a few photos on Instagram and is now opening its first storefront in Mountain Brook Village. The bakery will open to customers July 29 in the space between Bromberg’s and Ousler’s Sandwiches. Webb had been looking for a space for her growing team for a while. She thought she’d found one right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it just didn’t seem to be the right fit. “It was way too expensive and our team wasn’t trained, so when our Realtor found this space, we just loved it and something felt right,” Webb said. “It felt like we had to keep jumping through all of these hoops and at times felt like things weren’t going to work out with this space, but we stuck with it.” It’s a huge risk, transforming what previously was a clothing store into a store for baked goods. “So many people have been so supportive and telling us that we are in the best location, so that has been really encouraging, too,” she said. The storefront will be the company’s first space where workers can meet patrons right off

the street for walk-in orders, pick-up orders and consultations. Previously, it only had kitchen space and online sales. “I think a lot of people around here don’t know who we are, which is awesome and really gives us room to grow,” Webb said.

Accidental Baker

After a few years working part time at Urban Standard during school, the coffee shop’s baker was planning to move out of town and began training Webb to take over her position. It was then that Webb really began homing in on baking as a potential career. Webb gleaned all that she could from her predecessor, especially skills to create unique flavor profiles. “I learned how to pair flavors while making the donuts,” Webb said. “Our lavender honey cake really came from making a lavender donut with a honey glaze and white chocolate.” Donuts were a big seller at the store, and their simple preparation made them perfect for experimentation. She then graduated to playing around with cookies, cake bites and perfecting scone recipes. “When I was at Urban I just decided to teach myself how to bake different things each week,” Webb said. “At one point I decided I wanted to work on my cakes, and I think my manager had given me the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. I thought the cakes were really beautiful.” Written by Christina Tossi, the cookbook was a massive success and was touted as changing the way the culinary world viewed desserts. Her nostalgic flavors were inspired by her childhood, such as items with sugary cere-

als, and her signature cakes featured “naked” edges. “I just copied the recipe that was in there – I believe it was the carrot cake – and loved the look of it,” Webb said. She began playing around with flavors using that same naked cake technique. It also gave her a break from teaching herself how to ice a cake. “I didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “You have to be so meticulous with icing. I like the more whimsical feeling of making the Milk Bar style cake.” She also was inspired by the way Milk Bar cakes put together nostalgic and whimsical flavor pairings. “It’s led me to walk down the aisles at the grocery store and think about what could be fun,” Webb said. At first, Webb said, she played around with lemon a lot because it is a customer favorite. “I’m always drawn more to anything that is light brown,” Webb said. “Coffee, pecan, brown butter – those kinds of flavors. I’m more of a fall girl.” In late July, when the storefront opens for Daughters Baking, patrons will see some of Webb’s most successful creations in full-size cakes and mini-cakes. “We’re going to launch with our customer favorites, because we change our menu a lot,” she said. The company has been conducting polls on Instagram to see what customers love and what flavor combinations they have been missing. Some of the top-ranking flavors include cookies and cream, salted caramel pretzel, tiramisu, strawberry champagne, wedding cake and Reese’s peanut butter. “People love the blueberry lemon,” Webb said. “We’ve had that on the menu for years and I feel like we would enrage customers if we took that off.” The top flavors will remain on the menu for the rest of the summer, but come fall, there will be a shift to a new seasonal menu. “I’m excited for those flavors,” Webb said. “It’s so fun to offer holiday treats.” The other arm of the bakery is its wedding creations, which will always be available to brides. It’s an aspect of the business that Webb loves. “There is something about weddings that I have always really enjoyed,” Webb said. “Something about the wedding culture feels so exciting and celebratory. Weddings are so special. “I’m thankful for this style of cakes because they have been relatively easy to set up compared to other styles of cakes,” she continued. “We’re still getting better at it and refining our process. “With weddings, if all things go well, it’s really enjoyable to see the bride, bridesmaids and everybody in attendance gathered together. (It) is exciting,” Webb said. She noted that her team has become obsessed with the backyard weddings trending lately. The downsized wedding trend has led to some beautifully intimate events, she said. See DAUGHTERS, page 21

Campesino Rum Earns Best in Category in Wine & Spirits National Competition

Tennessee-based Campesino Rum, created by Mountain Brook native Hatton Smith Jr., recently earned high praise in the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America 2021 Brand Battle, where the brand was named the rum category winner. The annual tournament is a Shark Tank-style pitch competition in which new and emerging brands present their product to a panel of distributers. Each of the five category contenders were questioned by experts on topics including age Hatton Smith Jr and products, plans for consumer engagement and market expansion, and methods to get consumers to change their perspective on rum. According to a release, Campesino separated itself from the competition by putting a focus on changing the narrative about rum. “The goal of this company is to get people to change their perception of rum by providing them information, education and transparency,” Smith said in a released statement. “Campesino wants to be a purveyor of unique rums from around the world and highlight the places that they come from – not trying to mask it with big numbers, flashy labels or the use of additives. We want to be authentic and transparent with these products.” Campesino Rum moves on to compete in the tournament’s championship event, which pits all category winners in competition for the best in show. That event takes place Sept. 14.

Journal file photo

A Piece of Cake


Heavenly Donut Co. Highlighted by Two National Publications as MustVisit Doughnut Shop

In spring 2012, Vestavia Hills residents Kimberly and Brock Beiersdoerfer set out to start a doughnut shop in the Birmingham community having little experience with doughnuts beyond eating them. With help from Don DeWeese, acclaimed doughnut creator and owner of Memphisbased Gibson’s Donuts, the couple established The Heavenly Donut Co. Jan. 23, 2013, in Vestavia Hills. They later added a food truck that travels From left, Asa, Kimberly, throughout the Adler and Brock Birmingham area. Beiersdoerfer Recently, the company has garnered national recognition from Travel Magazine and Garden and Gun. Travel Magazine highlighted Heavenly Donut Co. in its recent article “The 10 Best Donut Shops to Visit in the USA.” Listed at number 8, the shop was touted for its fresh, handcrafted donuts and creative flavors, including the M&Ms, apple crisp and cookie butter doughnuts.

Continued on page 21

Photo provided

20 • Thursday, July 15, 2021


Garden and Gun’s June 4 article “All Rise: The New Generation of Southern Doughnut Shops” highlighted Heavenly Donut Co. among 10 Southern eateries with creative takes on the classic breakfast food. Author of the article, Caroline Sanders, highlighted the Beiersdoerfer’s Bismarks flavors, which are filled with white cream, custard, raspberry or Nutella.

Hoover Restaurant Week to Be Held July 23-31

Restaurants and eateries throughout the Hoover community will be highlighted as the annual Hoover Restaurant Week kicks off July 23-31. The 10-day event serves to not only highlight the city’s vibrant restaurant scene but also to raise funds for Hoover Helps, a local nonprofit that seeks to engage the community and align resources to support local children. One of the organization’s major initiatives is its backpack feeding program that provides meals for Hoover students who are food insecure. More than 500 children benefit from the program, receiving a bag of food on Fridays to take home over the weekend. For a list of restaurants and more information, visit the Hoover Restaurant Week Facebook page.

Birmingham Restaurant Week Set for Aug. 12-29

Birmingham Restaurant Week, presented by Spire, will return Aug.

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 21


DAUGHTERS From page 20

Looking Ahead

With the impending opening of the Mountain Brook Village storefront, Webb envisions the beginning of something bigger. The hope is to continue to grow and expand, perhaps opening new storefronts in the future. In addition, it has been important for Webb to focus on giving back. Once the company starts to turn more of a profit, perhaps in its 5- to 10-year plan, she will be able to begin pouring some of that success back into community service programs. “I don’t even know what that looks like for us at this stage and what types of organizations we’ll partner with, but it has always been important for us to see how we can 12-29. The event will feature more than 70 participating Birmingham restaurants offering to-go and dine-in menus. “Birmingham Restaurant Week 2021 is a bright spot for everyone,” said Bill Stoeffhass, co-founder of BRW and owner of Style Advertising, in a released statement. “This 18-day culinary affair provides an opportunity for the public to revisit old favorites or to experience new restaurants while allowing local chefs to showcase the delicious recipes that put Birmingham on the foodie road map.

help better the community,” Webb said. Webb plans for the Daughters Baking storefront to serve customers Mondays through Fridays and for a four-hour window on Saturdays. “Our goal is to have all of our cakes stocked for walk-ins, but if we sell out, we sell out,” Webb said. “We’ll allow for pre-order a certain number of days ahead of time.” While they are still fine-tuning the details of the opening day celebrations, it will include a ribbon cutting with the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce and a festive atmosphere with a large balloon arch in front of the store. “We’re going to try to make it a party, but we aren’t quite sure what that looks like yet,” Webb said.

Blueprint on 3rd is a polished-casual American brasserie paying homage to regional cuisines.

It's time to enjoy a night out

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For more information, visit daughtersbaking.com. Dining options will range from fine dining establishments to casual food trucks, offering special two and threecourse prix-fixe menus ranging from $5 to $50 per person. This year’s event also will include special events, which will be announced in the coming weeks. The wine flight tasting event, WineO-logy, will take place Aug. 18, 4:307:30 p.m., at Vino & Gallery Bar in English Village, featuring food and live entertainment. For more information, visit bhamrestaurantweek.com.

Dean Robb’s

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


Mike Wedgworth (205) 365-4344

22 • Thursday, July 15, 2021

New Challenge

way I can.” Segars graduated from Vestavia Hills in 1986 and served as a teacher, coach and administrator at his alma mater for the past 28 years. He had been the Rebels’ athletic director since 2015, when he succeeded legendary head football coach Buddy Anderson in that role. Segars also was as an assistant football and wrestling coach at the school. Segars said Anderson, who retired as the Rebels’ coach at the end of the 2020 season, was instrumental during his tenure at Vestavia Hills. “I can’t say enough about my time at Vestavia Hills,” Segars said. “Look at how many of our coaches are now in the Hall of Fame. It was an incredible staff put together many years ago by coach Anderson and

Jeff Segars has entered uncharted waters, but he’s ready to navigate the unknown. Segars joined the Alabama High School Athletic Association at the end of June after spending nearly 30 years involved with the athletic program at Vestavia Hills High School. His role with the AHSAA is as an assistant director. “The new challenge excites me,” Segars said. “It was an unbelievably difficult decision to leave Vestavia, but it was time. Vestavia is all I’ve known, and I wanted to see if I could be OK outside of Vestavia. “Change is scary sometimes, but this gives me a chance to grow. The AHSAA is such an outstanding organization. I want to contribute in any

Photo courtesy AHSAA

Segars Leaves Vestavia Hills for AHSAA By Rubin E. Grant



Jeff Segars graduated from Vestavia Hills in 1986 and served as a teacher, coach and administrator at his alma mater for the past 28 years.

coach Mutt Reynolds. Buddy Anderson has been very important to me. He raised me. Myself and a bunch of other men would not be who we are without men such as Buddy Anderson. He taught me to put the kids first.”

The relationships he has developed with the coaches and athletes at Vestavia Hills are what Segars said he will miss the most. “Moving into this position, I won’t get to see the people I am used to seeing every day,” Segars said. “That’s not just the coaches, but the athletes. I could walk the hallways, see them and talk to them.” Alvin Briggs, the new executive director of the AHSAA, was pleased to add Segars to his staff. “His leadership as athletic director at Vestavia Hills is well documented,” Briggs said in a news release. “His tremendous knowledge concerning education-based athletics, his leadership skills and his strong technology background will make him an exceptional addition to our AHSAA executive staff.” Segars attended the National Federation of State High School Associations national convention the final week of June in Orlando, Florida, along with the other

ASHAA staff members. He is eager to work for and with Briggs. “I am going to be doing whatever Alvin Briggs tells me do,” Segars

‘Change is scary sometimes, but this gives me a chance to grow. The AHSAA is such an outstanding organization. I want to contribute in any way I can.’ said. “If he tells me to clean the bathrooms, I’m going to go clean the bathrooms,” he added with a laugh. Segars believes the athletic program at Vestavia Hills will continue to thrive. “It’s exciting to know that the coaches and athletes will continue to be successful no matter what,” he said.

Rebels’ Strand Earns Third Gatorade Award ‘He (Strand) demonstrated leadership in a way that was really remarkable this season, putting his teammates above himself. In terms of training and performance, this was the best balancing act of his career and we’re awfully proud of what he’s accomplished’


Westminster-Oak Mountain forward Webster Jackson.

From page 24

Lowery Was an Early Star

Soehn and Oak Mountain midfielder Hayley Wells. Over the Mountain schools also will be well represented in the boys game, with Mountain Brook centermid Joseph Armstrong, Oak Mountain forward Corbitt Grundhoefer, Homewood goalkeeper Luke Keown, John Carroll Catholic center-mid Christopher LaRussa, Spain Park defender Alan Melendez, Indian Springs center-mid Nathan Tozzi, Hoover forward Kosi Udeh and

and 3,200-meter runs at the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A state meet this past season, leading the Rebels to the state team title. He clocked personal-best times in five events this past season – including the 800 (1:52.73), the 1,600 (4:11.77), the mile (4:07.90), the 3,200 (9:12.88) and the two-mile (8:59.90). At the time of his Gatorade selection, Strand ranked among the nation’s Top 20 prep competitors in two events. He was No. 7 in the

2-mile and No. 17 in the mile, as well as No. 67 in the 800 and No. 76 in the 1,600. He also rated No. 48 in the national MileSplit 50, and he concluded his high school career ranked No. 1 in state history in the 2-mile and No. 3 in the mile, according to MileSplit.com. The Gatorade award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

Strand has maintained a 4.17 GPA in the classroom and has volunteered locally on behalf of Rebels Impact through Service and Engagement (Rise), a service-learning project at his school. Strand becomes a finalist for the Gatorade national boys track and field Player of the Year award to be announced later. Through Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Strand has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. Strand is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization he chooses is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations. —Rubin E. Grant

missed her sophomore season because of a fractured back. She was healthy this spring for her junior year and had a strong campaign, earning a spot on the 2021 Girls Soccer Super All-State team in voting conducted by coaches in the state. Members of the Super All-State team are from all four classes in the AHSAA soccer competition. “Lilly was a rock at the heart of a defense that gave up only nine goals in 23 games,” Homewood coach Sean McBride said. “She’s the best defender in the state of Alabama.” Lowery settled into being a

defender early on, playing either center back or outside back. “I enjoy seeing the game from the back, seeing the whole field and what’s going on,” Lowery said. “I prefer defending instead trying to take on someone one-on-one.” Homewood (20-3-0) finished as Class 6A runners-up this year, falling 2-1 in a shootout (5-4) to St. Paul’s Episcopal (17-5-3) after regulation and two overtimes in the championship game. Despite the heartbreaking end, Lowery said it was a satisfying season. “I was excited we got to play all

of our games,” Lowery said. “We didn’t really have any problems with the pandemic. “We lost some seniors from the previous season, but we had some new girls coming up who were really talented. Even though we lost our last game, it was a fantastic season, the best one I’ve had since I’ve been here. It was so much fun.” Although she has another high school season remaining, Lowery already is looking ahead to college. “I’m going through the recruiting process now,” she said. “I’m just still trying to figure it out, but I am definitely going to play in college.”


Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Vestavia Hills distance runner Ethan Strand has added another award to his collection before he heads off to North Carolina in the fall on a track scholarship. Last week, Strand was named the Gatorade 2020-2021 Alabama boys track and field Player of the Year. It’s the third Gatorade state award for Strand, who also earned the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 crosscountry honors. He’s also the first Gatorade track and field winner from Vestavia Hills. “Ethan had an outstanding career and senior year,” Vestavia Hills track coach Brett Huber said. “He demonstrated leadership in a way that was really remarkable this season, putting his teammates above himself. In terms of training and performance, this was the best balancing act of his career and we’re awfully proud of what he’s accomplished.” Strand swept the 800-, 1,600-

Standing out on the soccer field is nothing new for Lowery. She joined the Homewood varsity team as an eighth grader and was a key contributor as a freshman when the Patriots won the 2019 AHSAA Class 6A state championship. It was the first girls soccer title in school history. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patriots played only a handful of games before the 2020 season was halted. Even without the pandemic, Lowery would have



Auburn Players Form Football Camp Company Following NIL Decision Jake Levant figured he didn’t have the fame to cash in on his name when the ruling came down that NCAA college athletes would have the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness, more widely known as NIL. But that didn’t mean the former Vestavia Hills football player wouldn’t find a way to profit from the decision that took effect July 1. Levant, a sophomore linebacker at Auburn, and a few of his teammates decided to form Princeps Camps LLC as a way for college football players to cash in on NIL. According to their website, princepscamps.com, “Princeps” means “first” in Latin. It’s apropos because this is the first time college athletes have been able to host their own camps. “Our goal for Princeps Camps is to provide an easy path for college athletes around the country to host a camp now that the NIL is in place,” Levant said.

‘Our goal for Princeps Camps is to provide an easy path for college athletes around the country to host a camp now that the NIL is in place.’ JAKE LEVANT, SOPHOMORE LINEBACKER AT AUBURN

Princeps will hold two elite camps this month, one at Montgomery Academy on July 24 and the other at Mountain Brook High School on July 31. Levant, Tanner Dean, Bart Lester and Owen Pappoe – all Auburn football players – are partners in the company. Dean graduated from Mountain Brook in 2017 and walked on at Auburn before being awarded a scholarship in 2020 and finishing his career. He completed his degree in mechanical engineering in the spring. Lester, a linebacker who played in high school at Montgomery Academy, has been at Auburn since 2019 after a three-year stint at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He walked on the team and recently was awarded a scholarship for the upcoming season. This past spring, he graduated with an undergraduate degree in finance and plans on completing his MBA. Pappoe, a junior and five-star recruit out of Lawrenceville, Ga., is one of the top linebackers in the SEC.

Journal file photo by Marvin Gentry

By Rubin E. Grant

Jake Levant, a standout linebacker at Vestavia Hills High School, was a member of the OTMJ 2019 All-OTM team.

“We’re not some of the bigger named guys, but we thought we could make some money from camps,” Levant said. “We thought we could work together and make a little profit and do something for the community,” Lester said. The process of starting the company began in the spring before the NIL ruling was official. Dean was a key player in its formation since he had started his own business, Unconventional Design Solutions. “We went to Tanner since he had started his own company and he knew all the stuff about forming a LLC, taxes and liability insurance,” Levant said. “It’s a lot of complicated stuff, but that’s what we did and we finally went public in June.” “It’s been a good learning experience and we’ve gotten a good response,” Lester added. Once the company was formed, the group recruited three of the better-known Auburn football players to be the camp instructors – safety Smoke Monday, running back Shaun Shivers and quarterback T.J. Finley, who transferred from LSU to Auburn at the end of the 2020 season. Pappoe also will serve as one of the camp instructors. “We told them they just have to show up and make some money while teaching the kids and talking to them,” Levant said. “There will probably be some little Auburn fans who come.” Levant said they want to give participants a first-class camp experience, focusing on the athlete’s development. According to Lester, registration is going well and is still open. It costs $75, and interested athletes can register on the Princeps website. The age range for camp participants is 6-14 years old. “We’re hoping to have anywhere from 150 to 200 campers,” Lester said. “Our max is 250. The Mountain Brook camp might be a little bigger and we might have to make it two days, but we haven’t made a decision about that yet.”

Thursday, July 15, 2021 • 23


Making a Difference

Spartans’ Webb Receives Honor for Being a Role Model A person would have to look long and hard to find someone in Alabama more passionate about the sport of soccer than Joe Webb. The Huffman High School graduate has been a high school soccer coach for 29 years, the last 25 at Mountain Brook. His Spartans’ team presented him with his 400th career coaching win in 2018. His win total is more than 450, but he’s not counting. What he prefers to count are the number of student-athletes he has had the chance to coach and who have developed a similar passion for the sport and the life lessons it can teach. Earlier this summer, Webb was selected as the Class 6A honoree for the 2021 Making a Difference Award by the Alabama High School Athletic Association and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association. He was among seven individuals chosen because they have made an impact as exemplary role models. One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was selected from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations or individuals. The other recipients are Anthony Edwards, Loachapoka High School (1A), softball, basketball, track and football coach; Matthew Kennedy, Westbrook Christian High School (2A), head baseball coach; Ryan Hall, Oakman High School (3A), head football coach; Eddie Bullock, Anniston High School (4A), head football and girls’ basketball coach; Chris Bashaw, Guntersville High School (5A), volunteer track coach; and Nancy Shoquist, Mary Montgomery High School (7A), retiring volleyball coach. Each honoree will be recognized at the 2021 AHSAA Summer

Conference Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet, which will be held July 23 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6 p.m. “I don’t know what to say,” Webb said. “I did not expect it. I’m honored. To be recognized for something you love to do is pretty cool.” Webb’s unorthodox coaching style has included presenting a wild neck tie in some key contests to the Spartans’ player of the match, a ritual he adopted in honor of his father John “Buddy” Webb, who died in 2004. He and his dad traded in wearing “normal” ties 25 years ago for wilder “fun” ties adorned by Disney and other cartoon characters. The practice has been embraced by the players. He once even presented the “game tie” to a player on the opposing team. Webb’s passion and caring attitude has come naturally. He is the son-inlaw of former Indian Springs soccer coach Ray Woodard, the man chiefly responsible for bringing soccer to the state of Alabama more than half a century ago. He admits that Woodard, now deceased, taught him to love the sport as much as he did. That passion earned Webb the 2020 United Soccer Coaches Alabama High School Coach of Significance Award. Webb earned his national USSF coaching license and serves as a referee outside his high school season. He coached in the first AHSAA North-South All-Star Soccer match in 2007 and has had at least one player on the squad every year since. He also has taken up the microphone as a commentator for the NFHS Network live-stream production of the AHSAA State Championships – that is, when his team didn’t reach the finals. His Making a Difference Award nominator, a former club player for Webb and now a successful high

school coach herself, wrote, “Despite his many accomplishments on the field, it is who he is off the field that led me to nominate him. I have known Joe for 27 years and he has been a personal mentor to me both on and off the field. “I met him when I was in high school. He helped me through college and as I started my coaching and teaching career after college. He has been my mentor, coach, friend, and even teammate. He is still my sounding board both for coaching and for life. … He has been the same mentor for many other coaches throughout Alabama and in other states. Joe is the glue of competitive high school soccer in Alabama.” The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. “The recipients in this 2021 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously and have shown extraordinary determination in the challenges each has faced,” said former AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, who retired at the end of June. “This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive,” he continued. “Qualities considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity, determination and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a lifechanging impact on the community or school which they serve.” —Alabama High School Athletic Association



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New Challenge: Segars leaves Vestavia Hills for AHSAA Page 22


Cashing In: Auburn players form football camp company following NIL decision Page 23

‘Best Defender’

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Patriots’ Lowery Excited About Playing in Soccer All-Star Game

Lilly Lowery, above, is one of six Over the Mountain players selected to play for the North squad in the girls 2021 Alabama High School Athletic Association North-South All-Star game. The others are Mountain Brook center-midfielder Ellen Anderson, Vestavia Hills defender Ella Denton, Briarwood goalkeeper Savannah Sato, Spain Park midfielder Sydney Soehn and Oak Mountain midfielder Hayley Wells.

By Rubin E. Grant

week. She was chosen to play for the North team in the North-South Girls All-Star soccer game during the nyone who knows Lilly Lowery doesn’t have 2021 Alabama High School Athletic Association to wonder what’s she up to these days. North-South All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery. They already know. She’s playing soccer, The all-star soccer games will be held July 21 at the something the rising Emory Folmar Soccer Complex near Homewood senior has been doing for the Auburn University at Montgomery practically all her life. ‘Lilly was a rock campus. The girls game is set to kick “I started when I was 3 or 4,” off at 5 p.m., with the boys match folat the heart of a lowing at 7. Both games will be liveLowery said. “I did competitive cheerleading for a while, but I stopped that defense that gave streamed over the NFHS Network and to concentrate on soccer. It’s someAHSAA TV Network. up only nine goals thing I happen to be passionate about. “I am so excited about the opportuI love the sport. I don’t think I could nity to play in that game,” Lowery in 23 games.’ just sit at home.” said. “I am really happy about going SEAN MCBRIDE, As she has done for several years, down next week and meeting all the HOMEWOOD COACH Lowery, a defender, is practicing this girls. I already know some of them.” summer with her club team, the Lowery is one of six Over the Alabama FC 03 Elite Clubs National Mountain players selected to play for League squad. They practice all summer before startthe North squad in the girls game. The others are ing their schedule of games at the end of August. Mountain Brook center-midfielder Ellen Anderson, “I will play with them right up until the high school Vestavia Hills defender Ella Denton, Briarwood goalseason starts,” Lowery said. keeper Savannah Sato, Spain Park midfielder Sydney See LOWERY, page 22 Lowery will take a break from her club team next

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

A THREE-PEAT FOR STRAND Last week, Ethan Strand was named the Gatorade 2020-2021 Alabama boys track and field Player of the Year. It’s the third Gatorade state award for former Vestavia Hills distance runner. See story, page 22.


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