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Mask Up?


Local School Systems Deciding on Mask Rules Ahead of the New School Year

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

Homeward Bound GBHS Transport Program Seeks Volunteer Drivers for Life-Saving Road Trips By Emily Williams-Robertshaw


ALL ABOARD Greater Birmingham Humane Society volunteers Eddie Hernandez, above left and Dalton Noble, with two puppies headed for a new home in Wisconsin last week.

or the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, the “dog days of summer” not only bring high temperatures, but they also bring an influx of animal residents. Summertime is a precarious balance for the organization because animal intake is at its peak. “We’re basically bursting with animals,” GBHS Director of Marketing Lindsey Mays said. “Anything from guinea pigs and rabbits to cats and dogs.” It’s a time when the organization depends on its transport program, led by Transport and Rescue Coordinator Elisia Tillis. Tillis coordinates about 120 trips a year, placing pets into GBHS vans and organizing volunteer drivers to transport them to shelters that need adoptable animals. “These transports are a highly needed release of pressure, not only on our staff but on the animals themselves,” Mays said. See RUFF ROAD TRIP, page 8

Here we go again. Throughout the spring and much of summer vacation, things were looking up on the coronavirus front. It looked like the 2021-22 school year would be a 180-degree turn from the first days of 2020-21. But rising cases of COVID-19 in the state and the country have some communities debating whether masks should be required in BACK TO SCHOOL schools. special section begins While on page 18. Over the Mountain public school districts are leaning toward mask-optional policies, the COVID-19 climate has been heating up as the Delta variant has become prevalent. The highly transmissible variant now accounts for more than 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

‘... all grades and schools will be opening with full capacity in-person learning and masks will be optional and virtual learning will be offered to grades 9-12.’ DICKY BARLOW, MOUNTAIN BROOK CITY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT

New daily COVID-19 cases in Alabama have increased by more than nine times the number reported early in the month, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Unvaccinated patients represented an estimated 96.2% of COVID-related deaths in Alabama from April 1 to July 13, according to a release from ADPH.

See MASK UP?, page 21

2 • Thursday, July 29, 2021




Murphy’s Law

I GETTING THE BALL ROLLING 15th annual Antiques at the Gardens honors the first chairs of the event PAGE 3

PINK HOUSE PROPOSAL Owners appeal rejection of plans to restore the historic property PAGE 6

‘SERVE AND HELP’ Hoover firefighters support responders at Florida condo collapse PAGE 10

BACK TO SCHOOL The new faces and new facilities for upcoming 2021-2022 school year PAGE 18

ABOUT TOWN 3 SOCIAL 12 NEWS 6 SCHOOLS 18 LIFE 8 SPORTS 24 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 Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too.

Sit. Listen. Learn.

am hoping for good things this difficult for parents and teachers to school year. The teachers and stuenforce, too, but they must at least try dents deserve it. With all that because the expectations will not COVID mess, last year was rough on change for another, well, they don’t everybody. really ever change. (Please don’t tell School in itself is rough enough. the kindergarteners that. They may Take your average kindergarten class lose heart.) (I hear some of you screaming But, kindergarten friends, I am here “NO!”). These little guys, even the to offer you a few words of consolapreschool veterans, are embarking on tion. Yes, you will be expected to sit. a whole new adventure. They come Yes, you will be asked to remain quiet through the door both excited and until called upon, but while you are scared. They have a new backpack and sitting there quietly (here’s the good Sue Murphy lunchbox. That’s great. But they’ve part), your teacher will show you some been told that they will be expected to amazing things. Teachers have access learn letter sounds, which is worrito all sorts of wonders. She’ll show some because every letter they’ve you that when you mix yellow paint Turns out, the world and blue paint it magically becomes ever seen just sits there and makes no sound at all. They’ve heard would like you to sit a green. I’m not kidding. She will rumors that they will be asked to teach you all the words to the lot. It also would like “Plejaleejunts.” She might bring in figure out how many cookies Billy has left if he starts with four and you to be quiet a good caterpillars that will turn into buttereats two. They don’t even know right before your very eyes. bit of the time. This is flies Billy. Pretty amazing, huh? But there’s more. On day one, Also, you’ll discover that when difficult for some little they will learn that, even if this you give your classmates a chance people. Billy wants to eat those two cookto talk, you might find out that ies, he will have to wait until snack Charlotte, the girl who sits right time. You can’t just go eating cooknext to you, has a rabbit named ies whenever you feel like it. Also, when you see a Rosie. You love rabbits! You would never have learned really funny squirrel outside the window, you are not that if you were talking all the time. supposed to get up and run to go see it. Getting out of And those letter sounds? Not to worry. Your teacher your seat is frowned upon. Running? Also bad. You’re will lead you in games and activities and cooking projnot even supposed to shout, “Squirrel!” so your friends ects and you will wake up one morning and say, “Hey! can see him, too. If you want to say “Squirrel!” you are Bingo, bubbles, banana bread. B says ‘buh’!” Even supposed to raise your hand and say it in an “inside when you stumble across the fact that in the word “cirvoice.” Well, by then, the squirrel will be gone.  cus” the letter C makes two different sounds, do not Everywhere, everywhere, there are rules to follow despair. It will all make sense later. Actually, it won’t, and lines to stand in and times when you are supposed but every English- speaking person has gotten used to to sit and be still. Turns out, the world would like you it. to sit a lot. It also would like you to be quiet a good bit So, my little lunchbox friends, be patient. Sit and of the time. This is difficult for some little people. It’s listen and good things will come your way. I promise.

Over the Mountain Views

Marching Bands Get In Step


Journal photo by Jordan Wald

July 29, 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 Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls, Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald, Gail Kidd Vol. 30, No. 24

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at E-mail our advertising department at Find us on the Web at Copyright 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.

High school marching bands throughout the Over the Mountain community have recently returned to campus in order to begin practicing for the upcoming football season. The Homewood High School band (shown at Band Camp this past Monday) will take part in the annual Tournament of the Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in January 2022.


Getting the Ball Rolling

By Christiana Roussel


15th Annual Antiques at the Gardens Honors the First Chairs of the Event

Photo by Dee Moore

t takes a lot to pull together the Antiques at the Gardens event each year, and it took even more work to establish the first event more than 15 years ago. This year, the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens will honor Kim Matthews and Joan Starnes, chairs of the first show, when it puts on the annual event Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. The longtime Birmingham residents and lifelong friends took on the daunting task of creating the first event after having been involved in the Junior League of Birmingham’s antiques show. They persuaded antiques dealers to exhibit their pieces and crafted a setting to show them off – as well as recruiting a squadron of volunteers to help put the show together. “We have been friends for a long time, so joining forces to bring this beloved antiques show to the Gardens was a natural fit,” Starnes said. The theme for the first show was Heirlooms in Bloom, which Matthews said “helped us marry the concept of having antiques and flowers, allowing us to showcase both. “One of our biggest challenges was coming up with the name, Antiques at the Gardens.” The event name provides a cohesive feel for all of the moving parts within the three-day event, including a gala, talks and time with dealers. When asked what was on their

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 3


2021 Antiques at the Gardens honorees Joan Starnes and Kim Matthews.

wishlist for the event, Matthews quipped, “Our wishlist was simple: to pull it off!” “We had no idea what to expect as

far as how (Antiques at the Gardens) would be received, so we were delighted with the funds raised, show attendance, and positive feedback

from all fronts,” Starnes said. “The dealers lined up to return the next year, which was also a positive sign.” Starnes and Matthews said their biggest contribution to the success of the first show was in choosing the right committee members, including staging chairs Tricia Noble and Mitzi Davis, and hospitality committee chairs Cameron Crowe and Kate Phillips. “We were both involved with the Junior League of Birmingham antiques show, and that gave us the inspiration and confidence that we could re-create that same feel at the Gardens,” Starnes said.“It appealed to us to use the smaller, more intimate space that the Gardens offered. Tricia Noble and Mitzi Davis were instrumental in optimizing the Gardens’ space into a perfect setting for the dealers, showing them Southern hospitality at its best—a tradition that continues today, creating a welcome atmosphere for our dealers, speakers, and guests,” Matthews said. They also recognized marketing chair Val Holman and the men’s committee chairs, Stewart Dansby, Hubert Goings Jr. and Douglas Stockham. The 2021 Antiques at the Garden

event – sponsored by the Friends group, a membership organization that works with the Birmingham Park & Recreation Board at the Gardens – helps fund operation of the Gardens, which has about two dozen garden spaces and provides educational programs for children and a haven for visitors from the Birmingham area and the region. Now, Starnes and Matthews are taking more time with their families, traveling with their spouses to mountain retreats in Highlands, N.C., or taking grandchildren to the Japanese Garden to see the koi and turtles there. Today more than ever, they can appreciate the impact they had in producing that first Antiques at the Gardens show, knowing that scores of schoolchildren are learning about the science of plants, vegetables grown and harvested at the Gardens are being shared with area residents in need,and visitors from near and far can enjoy a safe and welcoming retreat in the heart of the Magic City. Starnes and Matthews have passed the baton to current Antiques at the Gardens co-chairs Shannon Lisenby and Stephanie Lynton. Details about this year’s Antiques at the Gardens show presented by IBERIABANK (a division of First Horizons Bank), including speakers and dealers involved, will be posted later this month on the Friends website, at, on Facebook and on Instagram at @ antiquesgardensbham.

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4 • Thursday, July 29, 2021



JUL 29 - AUG 12

Aug. 6-8 The Wizard of Oz: Youth Edition

Through July 31

This one-hour adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz,” is specially tailored for elementary and middle school-aged actors. When: showtimes vary Where: Red Mountain Theatre Website:

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:

Sat., Aug. 7 Shake & Bake 5k

Vapor Ministries will host its 18th annual 5k, benefiting the ministries’ efforts to bring social, economic and spiritual life to communities in extreme poverty. When: 8 a.m. Where: Mt. Laurel Website: shakeandbake5k. com

Through Aug. 1 Summer Film Series

The Alabama Theatre’s annual summer movie series will continue with showings of “Steel Magnolias,” July 30; and “The Sound of Music,” Aug. 1. Doors open one hour before showtime and screenings begin with a sing-along with the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. When: showtimes vary Where: The Alabama Theatre Website:

Hoover Restaurant Week

This 10-day event highlights restaurants throughout the city with a portion of the proceeds form each meal benefiting Hoover Helps, a local organization that provides community support. Website: business.

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

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 holes of night golf. 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:

A Night in Hollywood

Our Hope International, a Birmingham based non-profit 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:

Shoes and Brews


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: homewood/thetrakshaktwilightretrorun

Sat., July 31 Troop 97 Pancake Breakfast

Boy Scout Troop 97 will host a garage sale, pancake breakfast and silent auction. Open to the public, the pancake breakfast is $6 in advance or $7 at the door. When: 7 a.m.-noon Where: Trinity United Methodist Church Website: “Troop 97 Homewood” Facebook page

Hoover City Schools Dad Brigade The seventh annual Dad Brigade back-to-school cleanup day will include the efforts of local fathers and volunteers, cleaning up school campuses in preparation for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. When: 7 a.m. Website:

Virtual Sci-fi/Fantasy Fest

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:

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:

Sun., Aug. 1 Cornhole Tournament

The Birmingham United Methodist United Appeal Fund will host its first annual corn hole tournament benefiting Family Promise and Trinity United Methodist Church. Teams of 2 will compete in this double elimination tournament with snacks provided. When: 2-5 p.m. Where: Homewood Theater Website: trinitybirmingham. com/event/cornhole-tournament/

Tues., Aug. 3

will host a tournament featuring fun, food and fellowship in support of the 3.4 million people living with the challenges of epilepsy. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: TopGolf Birmingham Website: takeaswing/

Heights Village Party on the Patio

The merchants of Cahaba Heights will host this monthly event featuring extended store hours, pop up shops, live music and more. When: 3 p.m., pop-ups; 5:30 p.m., live music Where: The Heights Village Website: “Shopcahabaheights” Facebook page

Homewood National Night Out

Hosted in conjunction with the West Homewood Farmer’s Market’s final event of the summer season, this celebration includes a partnership with the Homewood Police Department. When: 5-8 p.m. Where: West Homewood Farmer’s Market Website:

Hoover National Night Out

The City of Hoover and the Hoover Police Department will host this annual event designed to increase crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support, encourage local anti-crime programs and strengthen community bonds. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: Riverchase Galleria, Belk parking lot Website:

Thurs., Aug. 5 Take a Swing At Epilepsy

The Epilepsy Foundation Alabama

FEELIN’ GROOVY at Retro Run 2019 were Run Giovanni Ibe, Makenzee Murphy and Mariska Murphy.

Aug. 5-8 “Proof”

The first installment of Homewood Theatre’s new After Dark Series will feature this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play about a woman dealing with family, romance and her volatile emotions. Performances in this series contain adult themes and mature language. When: Aug. 5-7, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 8, 2:30 p.m. Where: Homewood Theatre Website:

Aug. 6 & 7 Secret Stages

This two-day music festival features more than 30 artists performing on various stages within walking distance in downtown Birmingham. Website:

Firehouse Ministries will host its annual Cornhole tournament, open to participants, supporters and spectators with all proceeds benefiting the organization’s mission to administer lifesaving interventions to Birmingham’s chronically homeless male population. When: noon-7 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Co. Website: firehouse

An Afternoon with the Author

The O’Neal Library will host local author Debra Goldstein for a book discussion and signing, featuring her latest mystery novel “Four Cuts Too Many,” the fourth book in her Sarah Blair mystery series. When: 2:30 p.m. Where: O’Neal Library Website:

Aug. 10-14 Be-You-tiful

The Arc of Central Alabama will host a virtual fashion show and silent auction, featuring models with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Funds raised will support the organization’s efforts to provide quality programming, advocacy efforts, education and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Website:

Thurs., Aug. 12 Celebration of Champions

The Lakeshore Foundation will host this virtual event to celebrate United States Paralympians from the past, present and future, as well as the organization’s role in supporting athletes for 30 years. Keynote speaker will be two-time Paralympian John Register. When: Noon Website:

Live After 5

The Vestavia City Center will host an outdoor community event on its green space, featuring live music from local talent Alice Bargeron and local pop-ups. When: 5-7:30 p.m. Where: Vestavia City Center Website: “Live After 5” Facebook page


Thursday Night Live

The Mountain Brook Chamber Junior Board will host an evening of drinks and samples of cuisine from local restaurants. Festivities will include live music from Pioneer Chicken Stand, raffle prizes, local merchants and more. When: 6-8 p.m. Where: O’Neal Library parking lot Website:

CAT TopGolf Tournament

The Central Alabama Theater will host its first annual TopGolf fundraiser, featuring food, beverages and a tournament for all levels of players. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: TopGolf Birmingham Website:

Aug. 12-29 Birmingham Restaurant Week

The annual celebration of local eateries will offer special menus available to-go or for dine-in at a variety of establishments ranging from fine dining to down-home cooking. Website:

Sat., Aug. 14 Crestline Tent Sale

Crestline Village merchants in Mountain Brook will host their biggest sales of the year, featuring deals, trunk shows and more. When: all day Where: Crestline Village Website:

Local Flavor

Otey’s Fest Returns with Lineup of Local Acts By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

After taking a break last year due to pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, the annual Otey’s Fest is returning to Crestline Village, taking over the parking lot in front of Otey’s Tavern on July 31. Otey’s Tavern owner Will Haver founded the event shortly after he bought the Crestline Village bar in

Each ticket includes admission to the event and food, as well as beer and cocktails for those over 21. The menu will include longtime Otey’s fixture Rodney Davis’ famous burgers. 2008. According to Haver, the event has continued to offer the community a time to come together and celebrate. “2020 was a tough year for everyone, and it is good to get back to some sense of normalcy,” Haver said. “We have always had a unique vision for Otey’s Fest and have kept it as a fun shindig. The biggest change this year, because we are only selling limited

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 5

ABOUT TOWN tickets, is that we are doing an all-inclusive ticket.” Each ticket includes admission to the event and food, as well as beer and cocktails for those over 21. The menu will include longtime Otey’s fixture Rodney Davis’ famous burgers. What won’t be changing is the music and the drive to help a cause. “Otey’s Fest always benefited a nonprofit, and this year we are benefiting our friends at the Phoenix Club of Birmingham,” Haver said. The Phoenix Club is a social and philanthropic organization that supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, providing funds to support specific needs as well as scholarship programs. All of the musical acts set to be at the event hail from Birmingham. Kicking things off at 6 p.m. will be The ‘Hams, which includes Otey’s Tavern namesake John “Otey” Hutchinson. Headlining at 8 p.m. will be Party of the Year, a musical act from the producers of Black Jacket Symphony that performs greatest hits from the ’60s all the way to present day. The lineup will conclude with a performance by local duo Jackson Walls at 10 p.m. inside the restaurant. Advanced tickets are available for $85, but kids ages 18 and under enter for free. If the show isn’t sold out, additional tickets will be available at the gate for $100.

For more information, visit

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6 • Thursday, July 29, 2021

Pink House Proposal


By Emily Williams-Robertshaw When the owners of Homewood’s historic Pink House, Clayton and Rachel Mobley, presented a proposal to rehab and build on the property to the Homewood Board of Zoning Adjustments on June 3, many community supporters were surprised to see it rejected. The board denied two requests the Mobley’s needed to move to the next step: a height variance and a pool variance.

‘... we fell in love with the property and the future we envisioned for our family there’ Since the meeting, the property owners have advanced to one of only a few next steps. The couple has, in essence, filed a lawsuit against the city of Homewood. An official statement from the owners reads, “While the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) may still, on its own initiative, make a motion at the next meeting to reconsider our variance requests, after consultation with the City of Homewood and our legal counsel, the most realistic next step available to us is to file an appeal to Circuit Court.”

Proposal to Extend House and Add Pool

The proposal was created to make the property viable as a single-family residence, given the state of the existing construction. It pulls architectural inspiration from the original house and gardens and uses the landscape to maintain the original house as the focal point of the property. The plan includes the addition of a

patio extending from the left of the original house and leading to a pool area. Behind the pool would be an addition that would both expand the home’s footprint while providing modern comforts, including central heating and air. “The building materials used back in 1921 were nonconventional to say the least, so many parts of the structure are extremely fragile,” Clayton Mobley said. The additional living space would support the needs of a modern, singlefamily living space while maintaining the original structure’s existing floorplan. He noted that, if the work were approved and began tomorrow, it would take about a year and half to restore the property and construct the addition. “However, because the BZA did not approve our variance requests, we don’t know how long it will be before we will be able to get a building permit,” he said. “Unfortunately, the appeal process could take a very long time.”

Photos courtesy Clayton Mobley

Owners Appeal Rejection of Plans to Restore the Historic Property

Clayton and Rachel Mobley quietly purchased the Pink House property in 2020, while Rachel was pregnant with their first child.

Twisted Road to Restoration

The Pink House restoration is a story of trial and error. It was built in 1921 by Georges and Eleanor Bridges, socialites and artists who hosted salons and frequently entertained nationally recognized artists. Shortly after the death of Eleanor Bridges, the house was purchased by Eric and Diana Hansen in 1988, and they in turn sold it to developer Pat O’Sullivan in 2004. It wasn’t until 2018 that Sullivan began working with the Homewood Planning Commission to subdivide the property into six lots. Concerned members of the community spent more than a year raising funds and awareness in an

The couples restoration plans include the addition of a patio extending from the left of the original house and leading to a pool area.

attempt to save the property, and in the 11th hour, Holly Ellis and her

Disability Rights Advocate John Kemp Named Lakeshore Foundation CEO The Lakeshore Foundation board of directors has announced the appointment of John D. Kemp as president and chief executive officer effective Nov. 1. Kemp succeeds Jeff Underwood, who last year announced plans to retire this fall. An internationally recognized disability rights advocate and executive, Kemp now is president and CEO of the Viscardi Center and Henry Viscardi School in Long Island, New York. The Viscardi Center is a network of nonprofits dedicated to educating, employing and empowering people with disabilities.

According to a release, Kemp has decades of experience in the disability movement as a disabled leader and is a co-founder of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Kemp’s previous leadership roles include national executive director of United Cerebral Palsy Associations, president and CEO of VSA Arts and VSA Arts International and general counsel and vice president of development for the National Easter Seals Society, among others. He is a recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award, regarded as America’s highest honor for disability leadership and service; and the Dole

family bought the lot from Sullivan with the idea of restoring it.

The Mobleys quietly purchased the property in 2020, while Rachel Mobley was pregnant with their first child, also in the hopes of seeing it restored. When asked what made them feel confident enough to take on the project, Clayton Mobley noted that confident might not be the right word. “Naive, maybe?” he said. “All jokes aside, we fell in love with the property and the future we envisioned for our family there. We knew that vision would be worth all the hard work ahead.” Nevertheless, owning the piece of local history has been rewarding for the pair. Artifacts recounting the story of the home’s past have been passed down from owner to owner. “We especially love reading Eleanor’s personal diary,” Mobley said. “She was hilarious. It’s been fun to share the property’s stories with the rest of Homewood because the community has shown such wonderful interest and support.” While they continue to find enjoyment in the property despite the downfalls, the couple has hope their vision will come to fruition. “We know the property is unique for so many reasons,” Mobley said. “Variances exist because there are unique situations that are worthy of making an exception. “We really feel that persevering to circuit court where we can present our request to a higher legal authority will go well because our plans for the property really do just make sense.” For Homewood residents who want to show support, the Mobleys ask that they contact city officials. “The best thing we can encourage folks to do is contact their city leaders to let them know that Homewood citizens want their elected city officials to take action and find the swiftest path to resolution,” Mobley said. Links to contact city officials are provided on the couple’s website, The site offers detailed descriptions and images of the plans, as well as some fun facts about the home’s history.

Leadership Prize from the Robert J. Dole ability and nonprofit organizations as board Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, chairman, board member or partner. whose recipients include Nelson In 2001, he became a partner in Mandela and former U.S. Presidents the Washington, D.C., law firm of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, “John will be only the second P.C., where he developed an active federal legislative and lobbying pracCEO in Lakeshore’s 30-year histotice. ry,” said board Chair Mark McColl. A sought-after global speaker, “It is important to our board that the Kemp in 2019 spoke at the inaugural new CEO be able to build on our Symposium on Disability Rights, costrong foundation and continue to sponsored by Lakeshore and the expand our mission to provide UAB Institute for Human Rights. opportunities for individuals with John D. Kemp He is a graduate of Georgetown physical disabilities to lead active, University and Washburn University healthy lives. With his wealth of School of Law. experience as a national leader and passion for He and his wife, Sameta, will relocate to our mission, John is a great fit for Lakeshore.” Birmingham later this year. Kemp has supported numerous leading dis-

Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Chick-fil-A Brookwood Village Mall, above, opened on Aug. 6, 1974.

By Emily Williams For more than four decades, Chick-fil-A Brookwood Village Mall has celebrated its birthday in August. But not this year. Franchise owner Jerry Cotney announced on Instagram last week that the location will be shutting down July 31, just days before its 47th anniversary. “We’re going to be closing in about two weeks, and that’s after four-and-a-half decades of serving this community,” Cotney said. The restaurant welcomed its customers on Aug. 6, 1974. In a 2018 birthday post on Facebook, location officials noted that its first customers paid less than $1 for a sandwich. It was the first Alabama location of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy’s Georgia-founded chicken sandwich chain.


Alabama’s First Chick-fil-A to Relocate to Cahaba Heights After Nearly 47 Years at Brookwood Village Original franchise owner Morris Jackson and his son Rodney Jackson led the Brookwood location for more than 40 years before passing the torch to Cotney, a native of Roanoke and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. “It’s been a good run,” Cotney said. “This mall was a thriving place, as many of you remember.” Brookwood Village, which first opened in 1974, was experiencing a noticeable decline even before the pandemic because of the toll the rise of e-commerce had on brick-and-mortar retail outfits. In 2020, it had a major exodus as restaurants – including Jason’s Deli, Brio Tuscan Grille and Cocina Superior Grille – as well as Books-AMillion closed. In October, Colliers International of Alabama and Arlington Properties announced plans to turn the property into a mixed-use development featuring retail and dining space as well as high-end apartments. They went so far as to host public meetings to present their plan to the community. According to a recent article in the Birmingham Business Journal, the company has since backed out of the deal, and Birmingham-based Fairway Investments has had the property under contract for about three months. According to the article, Fairway–

Brookwood LLC was formed April 16 and is registered to Birminghambased Thompson Development Co. Inc. In Cotney’s announcement, he said a recent change in ownership of the mall led to the decision to close Chick-fil-A, although he also said the

change of ownership is unofficial. Cotney said the location’s survival has been “no short of a miracle.” “After being closed last year for five weeks, I really thought we were done,” he said. Once the mall reopened, business returned and Cotney said it returned

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 7

to pre-COVID revenue despite the lack of stores in the mall. “We’re going to look forward to serving you again – not at this location, which is closing at the end of July – but at Cahaba Heights, which is scheduled to open in October,” he said. The new Chick-fil-A Cahaba Heights will be on Crosshaven Drive between Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers & Buffalo Wings and Milo’s Hamburgers.

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Filling the Volunteerism Gap

Having retired in 2007, Mike Wade was looking for something to fill his time and began volunteering with the GBHS in 2013. “I have always been a dog lover, so this was natural,” he said. It wasn’t until about three years ago that he was introduced to and began participating in the transport program. Bob Stafford began participating in transports in 2015, sparked by a help wanted ad in a local newspaper. He enjoys driving and the cause was important to him. His first trips were to Washington, D.C. Now he travels to shelters in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Illinois. “When we go on a transport, most of them will start out in the evening,” Stafford said. “They load at approximately 4 p.m., then we take off at 5 p.m. and most trips take about 12 hours.” Wade noted that the transports mostly carry dogs, but occasionally cats are carried, as well. “Other than listening to the dogs, which usually settle down after a short distance, we have no interaction with them until we arrive at the destination,” Wade said. The typically two-person team will check on the animals when they stop for gas, but for safety reasons the animals stay in their crates. As they drive through the night, most of the dogs sleep. “Typically, we drive 800 miles, sharing 400 miles each,” Stafford said. “After that, we rest at a hotel and have dinner, which is covered by GBHS, and then come home the following day.” Sometimes the drivers will switch off after each stop for gas, Wade said, it just depends on their preference. Stafford notes that there are occasions when the animals are a little nervous when they arrive at an unfamiliar location. “We stop and pet them, give them hugs and then they are ready to leave us and go into the shelter,” he said. Wade and Stafford have taken many ordinary trips, but there are some memorable experiences that stick out.  

Helping Animals Displaced by Disasters

The GBHS is quick to take on pets that are displaced due to natural disasters. There are plenty of those, with hurricanes and tornadoes in abundance in the South. The only caveat is that GBHS has to make room for the newcomers. Following the tornado outbreak on March 25,


Journal photos by Jordan Wald

For every transported dog, there is room for another one to be rescued. “Our annual intake averages at around 10,000+,” Tillis said. “Realistically, there are only so many homes available in our area.” Typical long-distance destinations are to shelter and rescue partners in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New York. Closer destinations include neighboring states such as Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Many of the longer trips leave at about 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., so it’s a task that could be fit in after a workday. “We have trips that leave on pretty much any day of the week, so there should be plenty available no matter what schedule needs our drivers have,” Tillis said. “We also cover hotel rooms, a meal and transportation costs.” According to Tillis, the long-haul trips are a bit more difficult to recruit volunteers for, but those are the trips that are most vital for the animals.

Typical long-distance destinations are to shelter and rescue partners in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New York. Closer destinations include neighboring states such as Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. GBHS volunteers with puppies headed for Wisconsin, clockwise from left, Dalton Noble, Elisia Tillis and Patrick Burleson.

the GBHS offered free boarding for the pets of homeowners whose houses were damaged. Stafford, Wade and Animal Control Field Services Supervisor Chris Angst each manned vans to deliver about 80 to 90 animals to five different shelters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Two vans were filled with dogs and one was filled with cats, which is a rarity, according to Wade, because cats typically do not travel well. “That was hard, because we had no relief driver,” Stafford said. The trip was the longest transport Wade has participated in, the farthest location being Elmsford, New York. “It is about a 15½-hour drive,” he said. “That is just drive time. It does not include time for stops, etc.” In 2018, Stafford was on one of two transports sent to Jacksonville, Florida, to pick up at-risk animals ahead of Hurricane Michael. “When we got close, we were advised that the animals were safe,” Stafford said. “So, then we were told to go to Ft. Walton Beach to a small

shelter. This was now 2 a.m. We got as many pets as we could hold, about 50. As they headed back to Birmingham, they got caught in some of the outer bands of the storm but were able to get all the pets to the GBHS safe and sound. That trip started at 2 p.m. one day and ended at 11 a.m. the following.

Alleviating a Southern Problem

The GBHS fronts all of the costs for these trips. “We fully vet the animals, spay and neuter, everything,” Mays said. “We don’t get any of that money back, but, for us, there is no other option. We don’t have enough space for the amount of animals we have coming in.” Transports help free up space, but they also ensure that the animals being transported will be adopted. “Our Northern partners are located in areas where there are more open homes than animals,” Tillis said. “This is due to stricter regulations surrounding spaying and neutering. Partnering with


these organizations is mutually beneficial for both the sending and receiving end because it helps more animals to be placed.” The transport program is one that opens the eyes to a distinctive issue that plagues the South. “We have a huge overpopulation issue here,” Mays said. Most Northern states have legislation in place to control animal populations, most notably offering incentives for spay and neutering. There is also a cultural difference in how pets are viewed within the household. “We only have a handful of areas who have laws against tethering,” Stafford noted. “We also have areas where people allow their pets to run the roads, free to get injured or killed. They are left out in the heat and cold with very little, if any, food, water or shelter. We also have hoarding situations, and dog fighting, which is one of the worst things of all.” While many people treat their pets as members of the family, there is a lack of legislation to deter those who do view their animals more as pieces of property. “A lot of areas still tend to use big, scary dogs as security,” Mays said. “It’s a very cheap alarm system, putting a big dog on your porch or chaining it to a tree out front.”

Transport Drivers Needed

“Right now, we are struggling,” Mays said. “We are absolutely at capacity. We are no longer taking owner surrenders because we literally have no room for them. We need fosters horribly. We need transport drivers terribly.” While the GBHS is operating at capacity with adoptable animals, there are shelters in Northern states that have waitlists for families looking to adopt a pet. Some of these shelters are dependent on the Southern strays transported by the GBHS. “Most people up there are dying to have an animal,” Mays said. “They are paying upwards of $300 to adopt them. Our adult animals are $50 here. You can get a dog pretty much for free anytime and it’s a great one.” Adoptable dogs at shelters aren’t just pit mixes, a common misconception, according to Mays. She has seen anything from Rhodesian ridgebacks and vislas to shih tzus and Yorkshire terriers, as well as numerous German shepherds and huskies. Volunteering to drive transports is an easy process. “All volunteers go through an orientation with our volunteer coordinator, Chivon,” Tillis said. “Our insurance does require a motor vehicle report be submitted, but it’s a quick and easy process. “We also offer potential new drivers a chance to test out our larger sprinter vehicle to ensure they’re comfortable and confident before hitting the open road.” It’s a great way to get involved if you want to volunteer but are unable to foster or want minimal contact with the animals. “I can only speak for myself, but I do it to save the animals’ lives and get them into loving homes,” Wade said. “I always watch the destination shelters’ web pages to see the animals we have taken and see how fast they are adopted.” The animals he has helped transport usually are adopted within 48 to 72 hours. “If you want to talk about saving lives, you are driving about 40 souls up to another shelter so they survive,” Mays said. To volunteer, visit, or email or


Jane Newton Falany Nominated for National Communicator of Achievement

Author Jane Newton Falany of Vestavia Hills was recognized as a nominee for the 2021 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women. Falany was one of 10 nomJane Newton Falany inees recognized during a celebration held during the organization’s annual conference, which was held virtually June 10-12 and hosted

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 9


by Arkansas Press Women. Now in its 84th year, NFPW is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the spectrum of journalism and communications. The Communicator of Achievement award has been presented for 64 years and is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW. The final recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates across the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW, the affiliate organization and the community.  New, Collectible Falany is a writer, historian, book Antique Dolls

author, public relations specialist and leader in both Alabama Media Professionals and the National Federation of Press Women. She has written for newspapers and has taught journalism and public relations at the college level. She is a founding member of the Alabama Women’s Initiative and edits the publication “The Status of Women in Leadership in Alabama.”

Mary Charles’ Doll House

Her blog, MS with a Southern accent, records the triumphs and difficulties of her 30-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Majoring in piano in college, Falany has made beautiful music throughout her career, whether playing the keyboard, portraying a founding member in a historical play at an NFPW Conference or speaking at a high-school scholastic press meeting.

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Photo courtesy Tory Rigsby

Freedom Award Presented to Jim Langley

Hoover firefighters Tory Rigsby (standing, fifth from right), and Jeff Harris (standing, second from right) were part of a 14-member crew from fire departments across the nation that was deployed July 8 to the condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

‘Serve and Help’ Hoover Firefighters Support Responders at Florida Condo Collapse

By Rubin E. Grant Hoover firefighter Tory Rigsby has responded to a number of tragic incidents, but nothing compared to what he experienced earlier this month. Rigsby, a district captain, and Hoover Lt. Jeff Harris were part of a 14-member crew from fire departments across the nation that was deployed July 8 to the condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida. The crew are members of the International Association of Firefighters. The purpose of the deployment was to provide emotional support for the first responders who were working on the building collapse. The deployed crews have been trained by the IAFF in a Peer Support Program. The Alabama Fire College partnered with IAFF to bring the peer program to Alabama four years ago. Peer Support firefighters are trained to recognize the signs of stress and provide early intervention. The rationale is that firefighters may relate more easily to a peer who understands the emotional rigors of the profession. “This was the first time I’ve gone out-of-state in the three years I’ve been doing this,” Rigsby said. “I have responded in-state numerous times, such as the Scottsboro dock fire and the motor vehicle incident in Greenville and some smaller

calls.” The dock fire in January 2020 at Jackson County Park marina killed eight people, consumed the dock and destroyed about 35 boats. The Greenville accident involving multiple vehicles on Interstate 65 last month killed 10

‘It’s not easy. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 years old. Things mount up. You know if you’re feeling it, other people are feeling it.’ TORY RIGSBY people, including nine children. The death toll from the collapsed 12-story Florida condo building on June 24 stood at 98 as of last Friday. Rigsby has been a firefighter for 27 years, including the past 22½ years in Hoover. The condo collapse was a totally different experience. “It was something I had never seen before, given the size and scale,” he said. “It’s a scale that’s hard to fathom.” The deployed crew Rigsy and Harris were a

part of initially conducted fire station visits to speak with affected firefighters. The crew also broke into teams to work shifts around the clock at the site and worked alongside the search teams to recover victims. “We’ve kind of unofficially done the peer support thing for a long time,” Harris said. “We come back from stressful calls and we sit around the kitchen table, we talk and make fun of each other. We have a way of unloading and talking about it, and this program is just a more formalized version of that.” The two men estimated their 14-member team, which included a Pelham firefighter, had 2,000 interactions during their time in Florida. “I talked to rescuers coming on and off the pile,” Rigsby said. “They were in what we call work mode. You could see how tired they were, but they had to get to the job at hand despite all the debris and all the dust. “After it was over, they’d sit. Some of them had been working 3½ to 4 weeks. When you do something like that, struggles are going to happen. We were just trying to talk to them and set them up for success. “It’s not easy. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 years old,” Rigsby said. “Things mount up. You know if you’re feeling it, other people are feeling it.” The Hoover firefighters returned July 13 after a nearly weeklong deployment. “Every one of these I go to is different,” Rigsby said. “We were there to serve and help and also to learn, so we can come back home with the experience we’ve gained to hopefully improve our program here in the state.”

Retired Lt. Col. Jim Langley dedicated much of his life to serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, and that dedication was recognized recently with the 2021 Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce Freedom Award. “I’m proud to say I’m a patriot,” Langley told a luncheon crowd.  “Patriots don’t fight for a particular cause, but for the country. And I love this country.” The award is given to honor a former service member for their military career and their community service, according to a newsletter from Hoover Mayor Frank V. Brocato. Langley spent 23 years in the Reserve before retiring in 1994. In civilian life, Langley said it was important for him to continue a life of service, he just shifted his focus to the Hoover community.  In the Reserve, Langley served in the field artillery division and completed active duty tours in Alaska, Oklahoma and Korea. After leaving active duty, he continued his commitment to the military by helping with plans for several Veteran’s Day activities, lobbied through the Military Officer Association for retirees’ benefits, edited The Officer newsletter for Birmingham MOAA, and planning patriotic programs for Hoover seniors. In the civilian sector, Langley worked with Bellsouth Telecommunications. He is an elder at First Christian Church of Birmingham and worked with the YMCA Hargis Retreat Board, Hoover New Horizons senior board, Hoover Historical Society and Camp High Hopes, according to the mayor’s newsletter. Photo courtesy Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce

10 • Thursday, July 29, 2021

Photo courtesy Bruno Event Team

Regions Tradition’s Birdies for Charity Raises Over $1 Million for Charities

Front, from left: Alison Berman, chief development officer, United Ability; Freida Harri, Fly Right Inc.; Wendy Garner, executive director, On River Time; Sandy Naramore, executive director Magic Moments; and Jim Harris, executive director, Fly Right Inc. Back, George Shaw, Regions Tradition Tournament Director; Brian Corbett, board member, Parkinson Association; Robin Kidd, development director, Magic Moments; David Barr,y director of communications and external affairs, United Ability; Bill Miller, director of Birdies for Charity Program; and Steve Davis, founder On River Time.

Regions Tradition recently announced that its 2021 Birdies for Charity program has raised $967,435 for local charities. The amount was matched with $100,000 by Regions and presenting sponsor Magna-Kamtek, boosting the donation over the $1 million mark. 2021 marks a milestone in money raised for local charities through the tournament. Including the 2021 funds, Regions Tradition has donated more than $20 million to area charities. “$20 million is a huge number, and it has provided a real impact to many wonderful charities in our area. It’s something we’re really proud of and we look forward to helping raise another $20 million,” tournament Director George Shaw said. The program concluded with the Regions Tradition tournament, held at Greystone Country Club in May. Forty-nine Birminghamarea charities participated. Organizations were asked to collect donations of at least $20 or pledges of at least 5

cents per birdie made by PGA Tour Champions during the competitive rounds of the tournament. Organizations kept 100% of their collected donations. After a charity reached $1,000 in donations, Birdies for Charity provided an 11.37% match for each dollar raised up to $100,000. That percentage was determined at the close of the program and was determined based on amount available in the matching funds pool. The top five charity recipients received a higher percentage of the matching funds. This year’s top five charities were: • 1st Place: 19% match, awarded $19,000 – Parkinson Association of Alabama. • 2nd Place: 18% match, awarded $18,000 – Magic Moments. • 3rd Place: 17% match, awarded $17,000 – Fly Right Inc. • 4th Place Tie: 16% match, awarded $16,000 – On River Time and United Ability.



Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 11






Journal photos by Jordan Wald

12 • Thursday, July 29, 2021

From left, Francie Deaton, Lauren Conner, Nicole Reed, Leigh Bromberg and Debbie Chandler.


ounds and tastes of the South were on the menu July 15 for the fourth annual Hope in the Ham fundraiser, held at the Retail Specialists building. The event benefited the American Cancer Society’s Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge and was co-hosted by chairs Adelaide Vandervelde, Mary Elaine Jolly, Tricia Golden and Wendy Barze. Hope in the Ham is a pre-party for the ACS’ annual Hope Gala, to take place Aug. 21 at a private club in Birmingham. Guests dined on barbecue while listening to bluegrass music performed by the The Mountain Grass Unit, featuring Mountain Brook High School students Drury Anderson, Luke Black and Sam Wilson. ❖

Tracy Hayden, Tricia Golden and Marianne Wilson.

HOPE IN THE HAM Fundraiser Benefits the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge

Tony and Lucy Gaede.

Kelli Kelly, Laurie Wilbanks, Jeamer Nichols and Lisa Flake.

Liz Harris and Justin Brown. Sally Lineberry and Jenny Webb.

Above, Karen Keene and Laurie Bennett. Left, Mary Elaine Jolly, Kelly Norwood and Robert Jolly.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald


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Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 13

Tricia Holbrook and Gail Hathorne.

An Evening With the Author

O’Neal Library Hosts Book Signing With Patti Callahan Henry The O’Neal Library highlighted New York Times-bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry during its An Evening With the Author event series July 13. Guests were able to hear about Henry’s latest historical fiction, “Surviving Savannah,” and have their copies signed by the author. Henry, of Mountain Brook, has published 16 novels and was named the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020. She won The Christy Award’s 2019 Book of the Year as well as the 2019 Alabama Library Association Book of the Year. ❖

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The 2021 ROAR James Bond Gala was held June 26 at The Club, complete with a live band and an auction by Jack Granger of GrangerThagard Auctioneers. This year’s honoree was Randy Jones, owner of a Nationwide Insurance agency in Guntersville and chairman of the Jacksonville University board of trustees. He is passionate about raising funds for

Dr. James and Patrice Bonner with Debra and Randy Jones.

cancer research. “No family in America has gone unaffected by cancer, so it is my hope that I can use my family’s experience to encourage others to fund research and extend lives,” Jones said. The funds raised by Roar are matched dollar for dollar by the doctors in the Radiation Oncology Department at UAB. To date, more

than $3 million has been raised and donated to UAB for research and for endowed professorships. The event was planned by gala chair Julie Kim with support from Roar President Martha Thompson. The live auction featured many once-in-a-lifetime trips to exotic locations such as Turks and Caicos and The Amalfi Coast, as well as sporting event packages, private chef



Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 15

Julie Kim, Dr. John Fiveash, Dr. Sharon Spencer, Marilyn Waggoner, Sen. Jabo Waggoner and Dr. Robert Kim.

packages, a private dinner at Flemings with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg, restaurant packages and a guitar autographed by The Eagles. Randy Owen, of the award-winning band Alabama, donated a weekend at his private cabin, including a chef-prepared dinner with Owen and his wife, Kelly, and a guided hike on the grounds. Festivities concluded with dancing to music performed by Total Assets. ❖ Randy Jones, Rick Bragg and Steve Parrish.

Saturday, August 14th Check out the Tremendous Deals Under the Tents in Crestline Village! Check with individual merchants to see their sale operations.

16 • Thursday, July 29, 2021


Journal photos by Jordan Wald


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BCRFA Hosts Annual Vegas-Style Casino Night Since 2008, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has hosted its annual Pink Palace Casino night, raising more than $100,000 for local breast cancer research in Alabama. The 2021 event took place July 24 at Soiree Event Gallery, with guests testing their luck on a variety of games, including blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and slot machines. Guests had the chance to win a variety of prizes. Hors d’oeuvres were prepared by Kathy G & Co. In addition, a virtual silent auction featured a variety of items and experiences, including getaways to the Beau Rivage, Pearl River Resort and three nights on the Florida coast. ❖ Mike and Polly Anna Barlow.

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Art & Song

During the pandemic, Terrific New Theatre moved out of the space it has called home for three decades, prompting a search for a new location. According to officials, the theater is close to announcing its new location. To celebrate and raise funds for future endeavors, theater officials hosted the Art & Song fundraiser July 24 at Temple Emanu-El. The main event was a silent art auction that featured works created and donated by Billy Brown, Bill Bugg, Caleb Clark, Elenor Conn, Christopher Davis, Tam DeBolt, Lindy Edwards, David Garrett, Lynda Goldstein, Delaine Derry Green, Jennifer Harwell, Charlotte Cathey Holder, Leah Karol, Nicole Kirklin, Jerry Leader, Jill Marlar, Jon Osborne and Kevin Van Hyning and other artists. The evening also included musical entertainment supplied by Clark, DeBolt and Jay Tumminello. ❖

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald

TNT Hosts Fundraiser to Support Move to New Home

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 17


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Come visit us at The Shops of Grand River 205.871.4640

Choose Carefully – Compare Everything

If there is any time to carefully consider where you or a loved one might go for help with addiction, now is the time. Bayshore Retreat’s small home environment with only six clients at a time provides the safest place to get help. We all hear daily about the pandemic and the risks that still exist. Think about it, hundreds of strangers versus six, which would be safer? We’ve had our challenges with it so I can only imagine what happens in large facilities. Another thing to consider is many of our clients have gone to other rehabs only to find that they were treated with disrespect. Countless clients have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at such places as Hazelden, Passages and others. They’ve told us horror stories of the treatment versus what they expected.. Bayshore Retreat is exactly what you see on our web site and fortunately we have a wonderful staff that embraces our philosophy of treatment. 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. Compare everything when searching for a treatment center. Clients love it at Bayshore Retreat because it’s different and this can make a difference.


18 • Thursday, July 29, 2021




Foxie Returns to Edgewood Elementary; Girls Flag Football Kicks Off at Homewood High

Gone to the Dogs

Edgewood Elementary’s fourlegged friend will be returning for her first full school year. Foxie is a female yellow Labrador retriever, trained by Service Dogs of Alabama as a facility dog who provides emotional support to students. She joined the Edgewood family in

Members of the Homewood High School marching band will be traveling to Pasadena, California, this winter to take part in the 2022 Tournament of Roses Parade. late spring and has been hard at work since. This summer, Foxie hasn’t slowed down. Handler and Edgewood librarian Fran Woodruff took Foxie on camping and hiking trips, including treks to the North Georgia Mountains, Breaks Interstate Park and Grayson Highlands, where she hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail. To follow Foxie’s journey, check out her Instagram page @edgewoodfoxie.

Start Up the Band

The Homewood Patriot Band is back in action. The Homewood Middle School band participated in band camp during the week of July 12, culminating in a summer showcase concert for

parents. Homewood High School’s band camp kicked off July 20. Both the high school and middle school bands have been recognized as the largest middle and high school bands in the state, according to Homewood Schools officials. Members of the Homewood High School marching band will be traveling to Pasadena, California, this winter to take part in the 2022 Tournament of Roses Parade. The group originally was set to participate in the 2021 parade, but the tournament was canceled due to coronavirus shutdowns.    

Flag Football

This year, Homewood High School will introduce its first girls flag football team. This is a result of a partnership with the Alabama High School Athletic Association in a new pilot program. In early April, the AHSAA announced that girls flag football would be a sanctioned sport beginning this fall. The decision was made possible through a partnership with the Atlanta Falcons as well as NFL Flag, which leads the expansion of the sport nationally from the youth to collegiate levels. The season will culminate in a championship tournament, to be dubbed the 2021 Super 7 State High School Football Championships. It’s planned to take place in Birmingham. According to a release from the AHSAA, monetary support will be provided by the Falcons and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Nike also has signed on to provide girls flag apparel. The Falcons’ support of the sport


New Superintendent Looks Forward to New Year, Highlights Recent Achievements at Berry Middle School Photo courtesy Hoover City Schools

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

New Face of System Administration

Hoover City Schools’ new superintendent, Dr. Dee O. Fowler, officially joined the staff July 1 and sat for his first school board meeting July 12.

Hoover City Schools’ new superintendent, Dr. Dee O. Fowler, officially joined the staff July 1 and sat for his first school board meeting July 12. “We’ve been talking over the phone for a little bit, and I feel like he and I have become fast friends,” board President Amy Tosney said at the meeting. “We are very, very fortunate to have him, his leadership and

Homewood City Schools First Day for Students: Aug. 11 Winter Holidays: Dec. 18-Jan. 4, students return to campus Jan. 5 Spring Break: March 28-April 1 Last Day for Students: May 26

Hoover City Schools First Day for Students: Aug. 10 Winter Holidays: Dec. 22-Jan. 3 Spring Break: March 28-April 1 Last Day for Students: May 24

Mountain Brook City Schools First Day for Students: Aug. 10 Winter Holidays: Dec. 20-Dec. 31, students return Jan. 5 Spring Break: March 28-April 1 Last Day for Students: May 24

Photo courtesy Homewood City Schools

By Emily Williams-Robertshaw


Shelby County Schools Edgewood Elementary’s four-legged friend, Foxie, will be returning for her first full school year providing emotional support to students.

began in their home state of Georgia. In 2018, the team piloted a program in the Gwinnett County Public School system, the largest in the state. The rapid growth led the state to officially sanction the sport in fall 2020, one of only four states at the time to do so.

Buddy Bench

At Shades Cahaba Elementary, students will spot a new inclusive feature on the playground during recess. The Buddy Bench will be a place where students can go and sit if they need a friend or if they are looking for an invitation to play with others. The project is an aspect of the

all of his years of experience. I am looking forward to the things that he will push us to do as a school district.” Fowler has been an educator for more than four decades, as a teacher, administrator, principal and superintendent. He comes to Hoover from the Alabama Department of Education, where he was deputy state superintendent and chief of staff. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be in Hoover,” Fowler said. “I come to work excited every day. “I’ve never really done this before, but I’ve gotten to where I eat at my desk every day. I don’t even (leave the office) because I don’t want to miss anything. It’s exciting and it’s a very exciting place to be.”

school’s expanding character education program, which begins with its school motto. “The Shades Cahaba Way” reads: “Speak for yourself and other’s when needed. Listen to others and they will listen to you. Show respect, every person is important. Take charge of yourself, you are responsible for you. Think first, are you being safe? Give your best effort, your work represents you. Have fun, life is a gift.” The statement represents how character education works in tandem with academic education, teaching kids how to treat others and themselves with respect and kindness.

He arrived at Hoover schools with a wealth of knowledge, having

The program fostered partnerships with local organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and invited organizations from around the community to lead conversations. worked closely with the system during his tenure as superintendent of First Day for Students: Aug. 12-13, staggered start; students return Aug. 16 Winter Holidays: Dec. 17-Jan. 2, students return Jan. 11 Spring Break: March 28-April 1 Last Day for Students: May 26

Vestavia Hills City Schools First Day for Students: Aug. 10 Winter Holidays: Dec. 20-Jan. 1, students return Jan. 5 Spring Break: March 28-April 1 Last Day for Students: May 26

Madison City Schools from 2007 to 2016. During that time, Madison underwent substantial growth, calling for administrators to build up every level of the school system, from academics and athletics to school culture and achievement. The Madison school system now operates two of the largest schools in the state, maintaining high standards for academics and athletics that Fowler has said were based on Hoover Schools.


At the July 12 board meeting, Berry Middle School also was cited for its recent recognition as one of the

See HOOVER, page 20

Journal photo by Jordan Wald



Mountain Brook

School System Lays Groundwork for Renovations; System and Teacher Recognized for Excellence By Emily Williams-Robertshaw

Construction Projects

This summer, work began to upgrade each of Mountain Brook’s six schools. The Moving Mountain Brook Forward project, currently priced at about $75 million, includes work on all four elementary schools, the junior high and high school. In a recent episode of the school system’s podcast, entitled “Moving Mountain Brook Forward: Part One,” Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow recalls school system officials launching a facilities assessment after the system had recovered from the recession of 2008. It resulted in a list of work to be done that totaled more than $89 million, most of which was included in the final plans. To fund the construction, the system worked with the Mountain Brook City Council on a property tax increase, Barlow said, “which the community was so gracious to approve.” “All six schools in the Mountain Brook School system broke ground in May on construction and renovation projects,” said William Galloway, communications/PR specialist for the system, “some large and others small. “Over the next few years, all six schools will undergo change to improve the quality of our school facilities,” he added. Mountain Brook High School’s one-story 200 and 300 classroom wings have been demolished and work is underway to lay the foundation for what will become a two-story classroom addition. The project is projected to be completed in fall 2022. At Mountain Brook Junior High, rainy weather has not been kind. The school sits on a flood plain and flooding, particularly in the school cafeteria, has led to multiple delays in school start times and canceled school days over the years. Rain storms this summer also have created

flooding that delayed work. In response, project architect Dave Reese, president of TurnerBatson and a Mountain Brook Schools parent, adjusted the original plan to raise the foundation of the building seven inches to prevent future flooding. Future developments will feature the construction of a new entrance to the front of the school, including classroom additions, as well as architectural touches such as a pitched roof and turrets reminiscent of features seen in Mountain Brook Village.

Mountain Brook Schools was recognized as a National Board Accomplished District for the 2020-21 school year. According to Barlow, the work conducted at the junior high this summer has the potential to change the landscape of the community. At Brookwood Forest Elementary, red clay marks the site of demolition and excavation that is making way for an addition to include a new main entrance, administrative suite and lunchroom. Projects at Mountain Brook, Crestline and Cherokee Bend elementary schools will be less invasive. In a July 12 update presented to the Mountain Brook Board of Education, representatives of Brasfield & Gorrie noted that crews are completing renovations on Crestline Elementary’s auditorium, Cherokee Bend’s cafeteria and Mountain Brook Elementary’s lunchroom and administrative offices.   

National Board Accomplished District

Mountain Brook Schools was recognized as a National Board Accomplished District for the 2020-

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 19

Mountain Brook High School’s one-story 200 and 300 classroom wings have been demolished.

21 school year. The recognition came from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards acknowledging that more than 20% of teachers in the district were boardcertified. “This is a reflection of the excellence of the teachers in our schools,” said MBS’ director of curriculum and instruction, Dr. Missy Brooks. For that year, the school system was one of only four school systems in Alabama that had more than 20% of its teachers board-certified. The system also received the distinction in 2019. According to the national board, the certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education. Teachers apply for the board-certification process through the national board. The process requires candidates to submit video and work samples of their teaching. The submissions are examined and require approval for final certification.

Hutchens Recognized as ‘Best of the Best’

Cherokee Bend Elementary School Kimberly Hutchens has been named the 2021 Best of the Best: Gifted Education Specialist by the Alabama Association for Gifted Children. Hutchens is the enrichment teacher at Cherokee Bend, where she has served students for six years. She has been an educator for the past 25 years. The award is one of a number of distinctions given to educators who made a significant difference in gifted education in the state as well as in the lives of gifted students. As part of the recognition, Hutchens will share a presentation at the AAGC’s conference in October in which she will discuss the topic “what makes them special.”

2021 Season Begins September 7 •Parent/Toddler •Movement-to-Music •”Let’s Get Moving” for students with disabilities •Ballet •Modern •Jazz •Tap •Hip Hop •Musical Theatre Live piano accompaniment for classes through first grade.

Call or register online 205.870.0073 1715 27th Ct S, Homewood

20 • Thursday, July 29, 2021

Vestavia Hills



By Emily Williams-Robertshaw


my career, the return of students is always exciting, but ninth grade is even more special,” he said. “We expect our students to arrive anxious, but our goal is that they go home excited about the year ahead and I love watching our amazing team create that excitement.” The summer has been spent getting the facility in top shape, ready to welcome students. “Preparing the building is a huge task, but our custodial and maintenance staff are second to none and have been working hard all summer,” Howard said. “Scheduling is another huge challenge for our counselors and curriculum assistant principal, but they have worked so hard to place students in their requested courses.” During the 2020-21 school year, Howard and fellow assistant principal Jennifer Brown worked to establish the school’s culture. They decided to focus on leadership development to prepare the kids for success when they move on to high school. “Freshman year is the year to begin learning responsibility, accountability, self-advocacy and grit,” Howard said. “Developing these skills requires cooperation between the school and home. We want every student to be successful in life, and success is not always measured by a grade. Many times, success is a new behavior.”

School since 2016. He has been a fixture in the Vestavia Hills school system for the past 24 years, as a science teacher at Louis Pizitz Middle School and as director of administrative services for the school system. “Regardless of where I’ve been in

Over the course of the new school year, the system’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Dr. Aimee Rainey, will continue working with schools to further develop character education. For the past two years, the school system has partnered with the Hope Institute at Samford

A Place of Their Own

Vestavia Hills City Schools recently named David Howard principal for the new Vestavia Hills High School Freshman Campus, which will accommodate the school system’s ninth grade class. In the facility’s first year, it operated as a satellite campus for the high school. Howard was one of two assistant principals over the campus, but this summer the campus gained its own full-time administration. Before being named principal, Howard had served as an assistant principal at Vestavia Hills High

‘Hope Institute has been a vehicle that has helped equip our individual school teams with a common language, knowledge and support to take their existing character education programs to the next level.’

Cultivating Kindness

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Establishes Administration for Freshman Campus, Continues to Celebrate Character Education

Vestavia Hills City Schools recently named David Howard principal for the new Vestavia Hills High School Freshman Campus, which will accommodate the school system’s ninth grade class.

University, which partners with school leaders to cultivate character development. “Hope Institute has been a vehicle that has helped equip our individual school teams with a common language, knowledge and support to take their existing character education programs to the next level,” Rainey said. The success of the partnership has led to state and national recognition from, a national organization that advocates for character education in schools. In May, Vestavia Hills Elementary West was named a National School of Character, which recognized its school principles, known as “The West Way,” that emphasize core values of kindness, respect and responsibility. “Morning meetings in our elementary schools have been very successful, and some schools have even facilitated book studies with parents to support and enrich the efforts of the schools to raise not

Altamont is one of the nation’s premier independent schools for students in grades 5-12. Learn more at

only smart kids, but kind kids,” Rainey said. The student experience during the pandemic further proved the importance of character education. “The pandemic pulled the curtain back on many things, including the need for connection both with children and adults to be emotionally healthy,” Rainey said. “It confirmed what we already know and believe, that empathy and kindness are necessary to build learning environments where children feel safe, understood and loved.”

HOOVER From page 18

Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools’ 2020 Banner Schools of Distinction. The organization is the leadership umbrella for administrators in Alabama, said Fowler, who added that the distinction is a high honor. Berry was one of 31 schools in the eight state school board districts recognized in early May. Banner School recognition highlights a school for outstanding programs and service to students. “It is a very competitive process to get selected to win,” Fowler said. “What makes this even more exciting was that the program that they highlighted, Student Diversity and Leadership Teams.” According to Berry Principal Chris Robbins, over the past year, the school has implemented a program that included the participation of more than 55 students and 13 staff members. Those involved participated in student leadership and diversity programming throughout the school year. “One of our missions at Berry Middle School is that our students have the opportunity to participate in those difficult conversations

Fostering an environment where students feel safe and supported emotionally allows students to maximize their educational opportunities, she said. “We never want to lose sight of the humanity and uniqueness of each person in the Vestavia Hills City Schools’ family as we continue to pursue the academic excellence that is our legacy,” Rainey said. “We want to be known for excellence in every area; academics, sports, arts, music, theater and especially excellence in character.”

about race and equity,” Robbins said. “So, we decided to recruit a group of students who could serve on three different leadership teams throughout the year and participate in conversations about race and equity – issues at Berry Middle School, in Hoover, in our state and around our world.” The program fostered partnerships with local organizations, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and invited organizations from around the community to lead conversations. “You would just be amazed at the things your kids were able to talk about in a positive and respectful and productive way,” Robbins said. He noted that one of the cornerstones of the program is to create an environment in which these conversations are engaging and productive while also being positive. He noted that it is important to begin teaching kids how to respectfully engage in difficult conversations at a young age. “Hopefully, we have planted a seed here, not only at Berry Middle School but also in Hoover City Schools, where students are encouraged and know how to have those open, honest, productive and positive discussions about race and equity,” Robbins said.


Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 21


Altamont School Introduces 11 New Faculty Members for 2021-22 School Year

Making Their Return

Two teachers who have garnered previous acclaim working at The Altamont School are joining the athletic staff. Newly hired varsity girls basketball coach Archie Johnson returns to Altamont after previously working as athletic director and boys varsity basketball coach, taking the team to the Final Four in 2004. “In my 26 years of working in education, I have never been more fulfilled and embraced than during my time spent at Altamont,” Johnson said. “The genuine love, support and passion for students and staff makes this a special place.” In addition, Richard Ford will serve as Altamont’s new assistant athletic director.

MASK UP? From page one

Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the only state in the country where fewer than 40% of the population has had at least one vaccination shot. Just a bit more than a third of Alabamians have been fully vaccinated. The majority of local school districts have released their reopening plans, and they outline a return to mostly if not completely traditional in-person schooling. So, what does that mean for masks? Hoover City Schools, Shelby County City Schools and Vestavia Hills City Schools all have announced that masks will be optional for faculty and students. “At this time, our operations plan calls for face coverings to be optional

According to school officials, they put a focus on hiring faculty who are invested in the Birmingham community. It provides students with opportunities to get involved in the community. Joni Wiley, geography teacher, served as director of training for the Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers and co-director of Anytown Teen Leadership Summit. Wiley has also worked at the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and the YMCA of Central Alabama. “The school does a great job at being a tight-knit and supportive community that actively engages with Birmingham,” Wiley said. “I am passionate about holistic learning and student leadership, so I am ecstatic that this is a significant focus for Altamont.”

Ann Trondson, photography teacher, is the co-founder and co-director of Vinegar, an artist-run, women-led, nonprofit organization championing artists in Birmingham and beyond. The organization’s gallery space, Vinegar Contemporary, is in Forest Park. “Altamont has a rich history and strong background in the arts. I am excited to connect students with local and national artists,” Trondson said. “It’s one thing to read about art, but it’s another thing to interact with contemporary artists who are leading conversations and using materials that push the boundaries of what art can be and do.” Reid Watson, theater director, has directed and choreographed productions for universities, high schools and community theater locally and in New York City. He has also worked at Art Play at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. “As a Birmingham native, I have always respected Altamont’s core values and rich history,” Watson said. “I hope to make our world more inclusive, informed and creative using the medium of theatre.” Jim Sydnor, debate coach, served as a program manager at SpeakFirst, an organization that provides Birmingham’s middle and high school students with the opportunity to take part in co-curricular competitive debate. Beth Dille, director of The C. Kyser Miree Ethical Leadership Center, was director of the Environmental Center at Camp McDowell, in Winston County. “I am excited to help Altamont’s remarkable students continue to be involved in their local community,” said Dille. “Birmingham is a special place, and I am honored to be a part of a school that creates intentional opportunities for leadership and ser-

for all students and staff,” said Vestavia Hills City Schools Director of Public Relations Whit McGhee. “Of course, the plan is subject to change, and if a change is needed, we’ll promptly report that out.” Homewood, Hoover and Vestavia Hills city schools will be reopening for the first day of classes as normal. Shelby County is employing a staggered start for grades 6-12. Students with last names that begin with A-J start virtually Aug. 12; students with last names that begin with K-Z start virtually Aug. 13; and all students return in-person to campus Aug. 16. Homewood City Schools Communications Director Merrick Wilson expects that the system’s fall protocols will be officially released sometime this week. Currently, the school is operating with masks optional. Mountain Brook Schools is currently working on its reopening plan,

according to Communications/PR Specialist William Galloway. During a July 12 board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow noted that one of the main things the school system has learned about operating during a pandemic is that “it’s a day-by-day situation.” “With the changing landscape of COVID, we will continue to monitor changes as the opening of school approaches; however, at this time, we’re making plans based on the following guidelines: all grades and schools will be opening with full capacity in-person learning and masks will be optional and virtual learning will be offered to grades 9-12,” Barlow stated. During the summer, the school system held student programs at its facilities with masks optional and no reported incidents of COVID-19. For more information and updates, check your local school system’s website.

Photo courtesy the Altamont School.

The upcoming school year brings many new faces to the Altamont School. Among them is the new interim head of school, Tom Bendel. Bendel was hired this summer and joins Altamont with a depth of knowledge. He recently served as head of school at Sabot at Stony Point in Richmond, Virginia. Previously, he served as head of school at the North Jakarta Intercultural School, head of upper school at Rabun GapNacoochee School and dean of student affairs at The American School in Switzerland. Before becoming an educator, he served 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Bendel said he has been impressed by the enthusiasm of everyone he has met at Altamont. “Their evident joy at being part of this school is infectious,” he said. “Altamont is a great school, with a great history, and I am thrilled to have a chance to contribute to its great future.”

New interim head of school, Tom Bendel was hired this summer.

Ford has coached the JV boys basketball, seventh-eighth grade boys basketball and varsity boys basketball at Altamont since 2018. Before joining the staff, he played basketball at the professional level for 11 years in Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador, Japan and Venezuela.

New Faces With Local Connections

vice in our city.” A graduate of UAB and the University of Alabama, biology teacher Maggie Hill taught science at the Jerusalem School of Bethlehem in Palestine. Most recently, she worked at Valent Group, a risk consulting firm in Birmingham. She is excited to get back to teaching. “Developing relationships with students and supporting their goals is one of my favorite things, and Altamont seems to be the perfect place for that,” Hill said. Yan Tong, Mandarin teacher,

worked as a Chinese teacher at the Yuren Chinese School at Birmingham and at Vestavia Hills Elementary East. By teaching a world language, she said, she hopes her students will gain a better understanding of and respect for other cultures. Heather Kaiser, Spanish teacher, has taught at Samford University, University of Florida and King University. She notes that she enjoys helping students make cultural and linguistic connections that not only expand their worldviews but also complement learning from other classes.

Expect More From Education

18 months – 8th grade Call to schedule a tour:

(205) 879-3278 | 2800 Montessori Way, Homewood, AL 35209

Expect More More Expect From Education Education From

18 months – 8th grade

18 months – 8th grade Call to schedule a tour:

(205) 879-3278 | Call to schedule a tour:.

(205) 879-3278 |

2800 Montessori Way, Homewood, AL 35209

2800 Montessori Way, Homewood, AL 35209

Homecoming Tedder Transfers to Samford to Finish College Softball Career

Mary Katherine “MK” Tedder’s parents were uppermost in her mind as she thought about what school she would attend to finish her college softball career. Tedder was the 2017 OTM Softball Player of the Year as a senior at Spain Park High School and was a prep All-American. She played the past four seasons at Texas before graduating in May with a degree in sports management and a minor in sports media. She had decided to pursue an MBA and had another year of playing eligibility remaining, so she took her parents, Scott and LaDonna Tedder, into consideration when she signed with Samford last week as a graduate transfer. “I was planning on coming somewhere close to home, somewhere my parents would not have to fly out of and miss work,” Tedder said. “I had a couple of other offers, but I have a lot of friends here and I thought Samford would be the right fit and it was the right timing.” Tedder’s decision comes just after Samford hired a new softball coach, Kimball Cassady. Cassady spent the past 11 seasons as the head coach at Birmingham-Southern College. Tedder’s high school coach at Spain Park, C.J. Urse Hawkins, also was a candidate for the job. “I just met her (Cassaday) for the first time last week,” Tedder said. “I’ve known about her. She and C.J. are good friends. I’ve known a couple of players who played for her at Birmingham-Southern. She’s very cool. I’m excited to play for her and learn from her.” Tedder had a solid career at Texas. As a freshman in 2018, she started all 59 games at third base, but during her senior season this year, she played in only 38 games, starting three. “I had a different role,” she said. “Whenever I got the chance, I tried to do my best.” Despite her limited playing time

FLANNERY From page 24

Fairhope’s Alea Johnson also were chosen to participate in the game. “They actually released a list of rising juniors and seniors who could be chosen for the game,” Flannery said. “When I found out I was on the list, I was honored. Then, my dad told me I had made the team and it was incredible, especially since my best friend, Kenleigh, is also going.” Cahalan also plays for the Thunderbolts. Flannery left last week to attend a softball camp in California so she

Photo courtesy Mary Katherine Tedder

By Rubin E. Grant

An excellent student, Tedder was named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 softball first team. It was the third time she had been chosen.

this season, Tedder enjoyed her career with the Longhorns. “I would say it’s indescribable,” she said. “I had the time of my life, the best four years of my life. Softball was so much fun, and I loved being in the city of Austin. It was fun.” An excellent student, Tedder was named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 softball first team. It was the third time she had been chosen. She eventually would like to work in the office of a college athletic conference. “My goal is to work in the corporate office at the SEC,” Tedder said. “They have a lot of internships and I hope I can land one. I interned at Hoover High School in the athletic office. It was great.” Tedder also wants to complete her college playing career at Samford with a successful 2022 season. “I have a couple of really good friends who were on the team, Timberlyn Shurbutt, O’Neil Roberson and Mehki Mayfield,” Tedder said. “Abigail Dorsett and I grew up playing together for the Birmingham Thunderbolts and we’re good friends. “The talent is there to have a good season next year. I am excited to get to work, win a conference championship and make the regionals.” could show off her skills to college scouts. “The colleges run it so they can come to see more kids,” she said. “I’m so excited.” Flannery’s Spain Park teammate, Annabelle Widra, the state’s 2021 Miss Softball, was one of 40 selected to play in the East-West All-American game for graduated seniors. She also played for the Thunderbolts and is headed to Michigan to play in college. “I love Annabelle,” Flannery said. “It’s so exciting that she’s going to be there, too. To have three from our organization is incredible. It shows how competitive we are.” Although she’s thrilled about play-



‘Tickled and Excited’

Hardee Ready for His First Season as Vestavia’s Volleyball Coach By Rubin E. Grant Ashley Hardee had admired the Vestavia Hills volleyball program for some time. So, when he got a chance to become the Rebels’ head coach in the spring, he jumped at it. Hardee took the reins of Vestavia Hills’ program in March and now he’s about to embark on his first season. “I’m tickled and excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at Vestavia High School,” Hardee said. “It’s a great school with a great tradition.” Hardee is a longtime volleyball coach, having coached at nearly every level. He was the head coach at the University of North Dakota and was on the staff at UAB, even serving as UAB’s beach volleyball coach. He also spent eight years as an assistant at New Mexico State. He also has coached at the high school and club levels and been involved with USA Volleyball. The past two years he was an assistant at Chelsea High School. Hardee relishes the high school volleyball experience. “The excitement and the tradition, especially at a school like Vestavia, and the energy in the gym, especially on home days, is what I like about high school volleyball,” he said. “The players are good friends who have grown up together. You throw all that together with the energy and it makes it very exciting and fun to watch.” It’s that enthusiasm, along with his talent, that landed him at Vestavia Hills. “Vestavia has always been good,” he said. “During my days at UAB and going to their games and watching them play when I was recruiting, I knew they were good. They have always had a number of good athletes. They’ve had varsity, JV and freshman teams, which some schools don’t have, so they have players who like to play the game. “We were able to run a youth camp earlier this summer and had 90 kids in grades three to six who came. It was a fun. That’s why when the ing in the All-American game, the national tournament means more to Flannery. “My main focus is on winning a national championship,” she said.

Versatile Athlete

Flannery had a solid sophomore season for Spain Park in the spring, batting .313 with four home runs, 10 doubles and 36 runs batted in. She was selected to the 2021 All-OTM team as a third baseman. “She’s a strong player and versatile,” Spain Park coach CJ Urse Hawkins said. “She can play anywhere for me. She has a lot of leadership skills, too, and she’s being highly

Hardee inherits a team with six seniors returning. “We have a veteran group,” he said. “They made the state last year, but we’ve got a challenge ahead of us to get to playoffs. I think we have the pieces to get there and then we’ll go from there. “Angelica Vines, an outside hitter, is one of those athletes I talked about. She will be on the front row and also play some on the back row and play a leadership role. Maggie Ball and Rachel DeFore will be in the middle and also will be counted on for leadership. Alice Armstrong

will be the setter and we have Katie Beth Boston, who will be outside hitter and also play on the right side. Izzy Melendez will be on the back row as a defensive specialist.” The Rebels also have six juniors, outside hitters Savannah Gann and Mackenzie Merrill, right side hitter Kayla Franklin, defensive specialists Elizabeth Jackson and Kaylee Rickert and setter Kate Kaiser. Defensive specialist Audrey Vielguth is the lone sophomore on the roster. Gann and Franklin are likely starters among the group of juniors. “Savannah is a talented outside hitter and Kayla is a crossover athlete and an excellent athlete. She’s the starting shortstop on the softball team,” Hardee said. Hardee hasn’t had a chance to have all of his players together for summer workouts because several are involved with club teams. The Rebels will begin preseason practice Aug. 2. “We’ve had the opportunity to have a couple of practices and play dates, but we haven’t had everybody practice together,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Aug. 2 when we can get back together.” The Rebels will open the season Aug. 19 at Chelsea. They will compete in Class 7A, Area 6, which includes Spain Park, HewittTrussville and Gadsden City. Hoover and Thompson are lurking in Area 5. Hardee believes the Rebels have what it takes to win the school’s first volleyball state championship. “I’m going to shoot for the stars,” he said. “I believe we can win a state championship, but the volleyball in our area is so good. Spain Park is the voting favorite to start the season and Hoover and Thompson are very good. Hoover is coming off a state championship and have one of the top players around, and Thompson has a very talented team. “It’s a heck of a time for it to be my first year, but I like our group. We’ve got a good mixture of senior leadership and athleticism. If we can stay healthy, I believe we can compete with anybody in the state.”

recruited. I’m excited that she’s here.” Flannery began playing softball in the Hewitt-Trussville system along with Cahalan and Dorsett before transferring to Berry Middle School in the eighth-grade and eventually joining the Spain Park varsity. She also plays basketball for the Jaguars. As a freshman forward, she helped the Jags win the Class 7A state championship, scoring seven points in the title game against crosstown rival Hoover. But make no mistake, softball is her first love. “We won a state championship in basketball, but I love the sport of softball,” she said. “To me, it’s always so

competitive. Since I’ve been playing with the Thunderbolts it’s a whole different level of competition. Plus, all of my best friendships are in softball. It’s the best community.” Flannery plans to play in college but doesn’t have her sights set on any particular school. “I’ve never had a dream school,” she said. “Around the sixth or seventh grade, I decided I wanted to play college softball. As I got better, I kind of thought I could play at the next level. Now I’m learning about the recruiting side of it. “I have two years left in high school, so I’ve still got a lot to learn about how to play the game.”

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

22 • Thursday, July 29, 2021

Ashley Hardee took the reins of Vestavia Hills’ program in March and now he’s about to embark on his first season.

Vestavia opportunity came up, I was real excited.” Hardee is the Rebels’ third coach in four years. He replaces Payton Mansell, who led the Rebels to the state tournament during the 2020 season in her only year at the helm. “They had a great run last season and we’re going to try to build off that and make a run at a state championship,” Hardee said. “I’m excited about trying to get to the next level.”

Veteran Team

Thursday, July 29, 2021 • 23




Photo AHSAA/Marvin Gentry

the MVP presentation at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. John Carroll Catholic pitcher Macey Ogle immediately began wondering who that might be from the North team for which she was playing. “I started thinking about who was doing good on my team and I said to myself, ‘I have done well, so it might be me,’” Ogle said. Ogle had done a little more than well. She slugged a dramatic home run to dead center in the top of the seventh inning of Game 1 to send it into extra innings. The North pulled out an 11-8 victory in eight innings. In the second game, Ogle started in the pitching circle and hurled three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out one to get the win as the North competed the sweep with a 6-1 victory. She was 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBI in the doubleheader. Even so, Ogle still wasn’t expecting to be named MVP, especially considering the games featured seven players who have orally committed to SEC schools, including four on the North team. “When they called my name, I was still surprised,” Ogle said. Ogle, a rising senior, was thrilled to be playing in the All-Star doubleheader. “It was really cool, getting to play with girls I know,” she said. “I have played against most of them, but I don’t get to play with them, especially all the SEC commits. “I was really proud of the way I played. I really competed.” The MVP award wasn’t the only thing that surprised Ogle. Her clutch home run in the opener off Benjamin Russell’s 6-foot pitcher Taylor Harris was totally unexpected. “I was standing in the on-deck circle and I said to myself, ‘Macey you know she throws a drop ball, so be ready for it,’” she said. “I struggle with that pitch, so I told myself to make sure she gets it up. The first ball I swung out of my shoes and missed it. I told myself again it has to be up. So the next one was up a little and I swung. I don’t know how I hit it out. “I was rounding the bases and I said, ‘Wow, I just hit a home run to tie the game.’ I usually hit home runs, but my last one had come in an area game back in May. My travel ball doesn’t let the pitchers hit too much.” Ogle had a superb junior season for John Carroll in the spring, leading

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

From page 24

Vestavia Hills’ Crawford West (shown above competing in February at the indoor state tournament) finished first overall with a time of 19:18.26 in the girls cross-country race at Gateway Park to earn North MVP honors.

the Cavaliers at the plate and in the circle. She posted a .523 batting average with 63 runs batted in and had an 18-8 pitching record with a 2.54 earned run average. She was voted to the 2021 All-OTM team. Ogle has committed to Lipscomb University in Nashville. “I really like the size of Lipscomb,” she said. “Before I came to John Carroll, I was at Our Lady of the Valley. I have always gone to a smaller school. I have some family in Nashville, and the Lipscomb team has a family environment. I love the coaches and the players. It’s still a Division I school, but I have to go up there and compete and have fun.” Following the All-Star doubleheader, Ogle boarded a plane early the following morning to fly to Huntington Beach, California, where her travel ball team, Fury 2022 Premier, is competing in a national tournament. Being able to play softball yearround is something Ogle enjoys about the sport. “I love that I get to make so many friends from all parts of the country,”

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she said. “There’s a girl on my travel ball team from New York. I also get to compete. I love to compete.”

Other All-Star MVPs

Ogle wasn’t the only player from an Over the Mountain school to earn MVP honors during All-Star Sports Week. Hoover’s Kosi Udeh was chosen the North team MVP after scoring a goal on a penalty kick early in the first half to help the North post a 3-0 victory in the boys soccer game at the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex.

Hoover’s Rya McKinnon had seven kills and six digs to earn North MVP honors during All-Star Sports Week.

Oak Mountain’s Davis Gillespie was selected the North MVP in the baseball doubleheader. He hit a baseclearing triple and pitched two shutout innings in Game 1, which the South won 7-6 at Riverwalk Stadium. Gillespie also had a hit in the second game, which ended in a 3-3 tie. Hoover’s Rya McKinnon had seven kills and six digs to earn North

MVP honors in the volleyball game, which the South won 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 at Cramton Bowl’s MultiPlex. Vestavia Hills’ Crawford West finished first overall with a time of 19:18.26 in the hot, muggy conditions in the girls cross-country race at Gateway Park to earn North MVP honors. The North scored a perfect 15 to win 15-42.

Homecoming: Tedder transfers to Samford to finish college softball career. Page 22


‘Tickled and Excited’: Hardee ready for his first season as Vestavia’s volleyball coach. Page 22.


Katie Flannery

California Dreaming

Jags’ Flannery Playing in Prestigious Softball All-American Game By Rubin E. Grant


pain Park junior Katie Flannery might not be participating in a prestigious AllAmerican softball game if it weren’t for her friends several years ago. As Flannery tells it, although she began playing softball when she was 5, she also was a pretty good soccer player back then. “I played up and I played against the boys,” she said matter-of-factly. But one of her friends, Hannah Dorsett, decided to try out for the Birmingham Thunderbolts travel ball softball team, so Flannery decided to tag along and also try out. “I wanted to hang with my friends,” she said. Apparently, Flannery was a pretty good softball player, too. She earned a spot on the Thunderbolts team when she was 7 and last week traveled to Huntington, California, to play for the Birmingham Thunderbolts 04 in the Premier Girls Fastpitch Nationals. A third baseman and shortstop, Flannery also was one of three players from Alabama selected to play in the PGF Futures All-American Game on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPNU. Hewitt-Trussville’s Kenleigh Cahalan, one of Flannery’s closest friends, and

Macey Ogle

John Carroll’s Ogle Shines in All-Star Softball Doubleheader By Rubin E. Grant During the sixth inning of the second game of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s AllStar Sports Week North-South Softball All-Star doubleheader last Wednesday, the public address announcer told the fans, players and coaches to stick around afterward for

Photo AHSAA/Marvin Gentry

Journal photo by Jordan Wald


See OGLE, page 23

See FLANNERY, page 22

2021 Fall Recreational Soccer!

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS AUGUST 16, 2021! Boys & Girls • Ages 3-19 • Convenient Locations

Locations include Central (hwy 31) & Liberty Park!


REGISTER ONLINE! Sign Up Today! Teams fill fast! Limited spots available!  Sign up TODAY and reserve your spot as age groups can close EARLY! ---------------------------------------

COVID-19 & REFUNDS If the fall season is cut short due to COVID-19 Federal, State, or League mandates, the Club will be offering the option of partial refunds based on the number of weeks completed. The Club will follow all Federal, State, and City guidelines in addition to our governing body policies for COVID-19.

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