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Journal photo by Ingrid Schnader

‘A Really Exciting Day For Us’

Trey Hill, president of the Board of Directors at The Bell Center, along with some of the children from the Bell Center, break ground on the new facility in Homewood during ceremonies on July 25. Construction on the 18,000-square-foot facility that serves children with special needs is expected to be complete by May 2019. See story page 6.



2 • Thursday, August 9, 2018




Murphy’s Law

Home Invasion

M MESSY HOUSEGUEST CATALYST FOR HOME REMODEL Vestavia Hills couple update their ‘60s home with big open spaces PAGE 18

CELEBRATING THE CITY Restaurant Week builds on Birmingham’s culinary success PAGE 21



18 21 24 28

son of appallingly low standards. But I would y house is under siege. No, my yard is like to address myself to the other people, the not surrounded by Mongol hordes, (bloop) receivers, the poor souls who must pick unless you count the ants that continuup the conversation when I have been foolish ally pace the perimeter. I can safely leave my enough to stay on the line. There’s one number driveway and walk untroubled through the that calls my house several times a day. It’s neighborhood streets. What I cannot do is pick (205) 990…no, I’d better not give you the rest. up my phone. The number may have been hijacked from a I can physically pick it up, of course, but an dear, sweet lady who only uses her phone on overwhelming percentage of the time, it leads to Sundays, and if her house should then be sura scam recording or a (bloop) segue to some rounded by police cars, it could frighten her out salesperson at a desk far, far away whose job it of her wits. is to talk me into things he already knows I So, let’s just say Mr./Ms. 205990 … Sir or don’t want. These robo-weasels (Am I being too madam, does your mother know you are doing harsh?) have figured out how to convince caller this? Don’t you know your grandmother would ID that they are locals, possibly someone I’d be ashamed if she knew the way you are chooslike to talk to. Scam-driven emails I can delete, Sue Murphy ing to earn a living? If I found out that one of but phone calls are another issue. The shrill my children or grandchildren was harassing sound of the phone ringing is an invasion in people over the phone in an attempt to itself, and when I race to the phone and find These robo-weasels defraud them, I would swoop in and effect it is a person of ill-intent, the call becomes an (Am I being too immediate changes. I am small but I am invasion of my privacy and peace of mind. I feel like I am under assault. harsh?) have figured fierce and, trust me, you do not want to be on wrong end of one of my swoops. Before you ask, I am on the “do not call” out how to convince the Ethics aside (And really, when is that list, but for people whose aim it is to defraud wise?), how successful can you possibly be in the vulnerable, a little “do not call” indicator caller ID that they this fake phone pursuit? The calls are a waste does not seem to be a deterrent. In response, I are locals, possibly of my time and yours, so please, please stop. have instituted a “do not answer” policy. I know you need a job, but look around you. Since I can no longer decipher who is real someone I’d like to There has to be a position available where and who is a wily charlatan, I don’t answer talk to. you would be proud to show your face, somethe phone at all. If a real person is calling, thing that would not put you in the same they will leave a real message and I can call moral category as Attila the Hun (Again, them back. probably too harsh). The recording scams begin with a cheery voice saying they You can do it, 205990 … I know you can. And when you are are from “Account Services” or my credit card company, always unnamed. I can’t do anything about those people. The recordings successful, call me…well, leave me a message. Right now, I cannot answer my phone. ❖ are either computer-generated or a one-shot job taken by a per-

otmj.com There’s so much happening in the Over the Mountain area, we can’t fit it all in the paper! Visit www.otmj.com for more stories and photos.



Over the Mountain Views

What’s on your home improvement wish list?

Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Ingrid Schnader, Emily Williams Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Blake Ells, Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, Jordan Wald, June Mathews, William C. Singleton III, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls Jr., Bryan Bunch Sam Prickett Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Laura Lane, Tommy Wald, Suzanne Wald

Vol. 28, No. 1

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2018 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.

“I want to fix up my kitchen.”

“Redo a bathroom.”

Olivia Minor, with her father Robert Black Homewood

Keri MeGehee Birmingham

“Paint my house. It’s a project that has been in the works for a few years now!”

“I just want to redo my dining room. We’ve done everything else.”

Floyd Alexander Vestavia Hills

Julie Collier Birmingham

Next Issue: August 23 Over the Mountain High School Football Preview.


Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 3



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8/2/18 11:44 AM

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Caring Awarded

By Emily Williams Each year, Childcare Resources hosts its family-friendly Fairy Tale Ball fundraiser, bringing together families and favorite characters for an evening to celebrate the organization’s mission to “make quality child care happen in Blount, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties.” At the 12th annual ball, to be held Aug. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama will be awarded the inaugural 2018 Childcare Resources Award of Distinction. The honor recognizes the company’s longstanding support of children and families across the Greater Birmingham community.

AUG. 9 - AUG. 23 Fri., Aug. 10

Back 2 School in the Hills What: This free event features fun freebies from sponsors; rides and inflatables for kids, tweens and teens; music; and a family movie. No pets allowed. Rain date Aug. 17. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Cahaba Heights Athletic Fields Website: vestaviahills.org

Sat., Aug. 11

Just A Call Away 5k & Fun Run

What: Crisis Center Inc. presents its fourth annual run in support of their mission to provide 24-hour support services for individuals experiencing personal crisis or mental health issues. Runners of all ages and abilities, strollers and pets are welcome. Chip timing is optional. When: 6:30-9:15 a.m. Where: Sloss Furnaces Website: crisiscenterbham.org

Crestline Tent Sale

What: The merchants of Crestline Village present their annual tent sale complete with awesome deals, trunk shows and more. Stop by the Village to stock up for the new school year. When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Crestline Village Website: mtnbrookchamber.org

Local Authors Expo

What: Meet Rhonda Cowan, author of “Those Raisins of Wrath, Alabama,” and over 20 other authors at the Birmingham Public Library’s annual expo. The expo will showcase many Alabama

“We are truly honored to be recognized with the Childcare Resources Award of Distinction,” said Tim King, manager for the company’s foundation and corporate giving. “At Blue Cross, giving back to the community is one of our corporate values. Supporting organizations like Childcare Resources is an excellent way to support families and make our communities in Alabama a better place to live.” According to event officials, BCBS was chosen for its efforts since 2003 to support the organization through volunteer service and donations, including “archduke” sponsorship for the annual ball. “It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to recognize Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Childcare Resources to Honor BCBS Alabama at Fairy Tale Ball

At last year’s Fairy Tale Ball were, from left, Jill and Leah Richter, Camille and Jamie Baxley. This year’s event is Aug. 25.

for their incredible philanthropic spirit and support of children and families in our community,” said Joan Wright, executive director of Childcare Resources. “With a passionate team that dedicates count-

less hours and service to hundreds of organizations, including Childcare Resources, their steadfast faith in and commitment to ensuring some of our smallest neighbors are afforded every opportunity to

authors, including a number from the Birmingham area. Authors will be on hand to discuss their work, sell and autograph books and talk about their writing process. When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Central Library East Grand Reading Room Website: bplonline.org

event is the debut of paintings created by pets belonging to prominent members of the community (with a little help from well-known local artists.) When: 6 p.m. Where: The Harbert Center Website: handinpaw.org

Shoes and Brews: A Cornhole Tourney to Support The Firehouse

What: The Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Alabama hosts its 21st annual fundraiser benefitting the mission and projects of the Autism Society of Alabama. Guests will enjoy live music, door prizes, food bars, beer, wine, complimentary cocktails by Tito’s and Luke Lea Beverage, a photo booth and live and silent auctions. Cocktail attire. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: Birmingham Marriott on 280 Website: autismshinesgala.com

games, shoes and gift items for all ages. The cost to participate is $25 per every 20 items. Proceeds benefit Grace Klein Community’s local food delivery outreach program. When: Thurs. 5-9 p.m. (early shoppers only), Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: Liberty Church Birmingham, Old Rocky Ridge Rd. Website: gracekleincommunity. com

What: Join the Junior Board of The Firehouse for the second annual corn hole tournament to benefit Firehouse Shelter and their mission to end homelessness in Birmingham. Included will be great prizes for the winners. If you bring a pair of shoes to donate to the homeless, you might walk away with some Firehouse swag. When: 1-9 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Company Website: firehouseshelter.com

Homewood Library Foundation’s 5th Annual Block Party

What: This annual fundraiser includes cold beverages, food samples from local restaurants, corn hole, live music, bounce houses, a climbing wall, prize drawings and more. When: 5-8 p.m. rain or shine Where: Homewood Library parking lot Website: homewoodlibraryfoundation.org

Picasso Pets

What: Celebrate the night at Hand in Paw’s signature fundraiser in your most colorful cocktail attire in honor of this year’s Pop Art theme. Guests will mingle with star therapy animals; enjoy a silent and live auction; sip craft beer, wine and specialty cocktails; and enjoy a seated dinner. The night’s main

Autism Shines Gala

Rewind at the Zoo - 80s Fest

What: Relive your best 80s memories at this family-friendly fundraiser for the conservation, education and animal welfare efforts of the Birmingham Zoo. Tease your hair and break out the neon clothing, stonewashed jeans, jelly bracelets and more for the costume contest. Enjoy a cash bar, made-to-order food, live entertainment, a video gaming truck, train rides, photo booths and meet VJ legend Alan Hunter. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. When: 7-11 p.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo Website: birminghamzoo.com

Aug. 16-18

No More Safety Pins

What: Grace Klein Community presents an item swap featuring winter/fall clothing, maternity and kids clothing, baby gear, toys,

Fri., Aug. 17

Pathways Sporting Clay Tournament

What: Pathways’ 20th annual tournament features a complimentary breakfast and lunch; as well as an opportunity to win one of several door prizes, including a half-day of turkey shooting courtesy of Selwood Farms and more. Proceeds benefit Pathways’ mission to end homelessness for women and children through hospitality, housing and hope. When: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Where: Selwood Farm Website: pathwayshomeorg. presencehost.net

Sat., Aug. 18

Pancakes and Princesses

What: Adorn your crown or tiara for a special meet and greet between your little prince and princess and a court of princesses at this royal breakfast followed by Fairytales and Frogs Day. Tickets include a pancake breakfast, zoo admission, unlimited ride wristband, and a craft project. Each child will receive a gift upon arrival. Costumes encouraged. When: 8-9:30 a.m. Where: Birmingham Zoo, The Trails of Africa Website: birminghamzoo.com

succeed in school and life is truly remarkable.” In addition to supporting Childcare Resources, Blue Cross has provided more than $6 million dollars in charitable support to more than 500 organizations across Alabama, including the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center, Ronald McDonald House, A. G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club, Pathways and the Kids Mercedes Marathon. In addition, Blue Cross associates are encouraged to participate in a special day of service each year, known as the “Day of Caring.” The event last year included 420 employees and their families participating in local charitable volunteerism. This year’s Fairy Tale Ball will feature a silent auction, fairy tale characters, live music, an interactive candy bar and more. Serving as emcee for the evening will be ABC 33/40 evening co-anchor Christopher Sign. For more information, visit ccrbhm.org.

Fairytales and Frogs Day What: Join this third annual celebration where fairytales come alive. All royal subjects attending will receive a crown (while supplies last) and have a chance to get their face painted. Photo opportunities will be plentiful as several costumed characters will be present to entertain attendees. The event will also feature keeper chats and animal demonstrations, arts and crafts. Costumes encouraged. When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: The Birmingham Zoo, behind the Wildlife Stage Website: birminghamzoo.com

Beer Bands & Bullies

What: Join Bama Bully Rescue for its eighth annual music festival. The event will feature some of Birmingham’s best bands, raffles and beer. Tickets are $10. VIP tickets are available for $25 and include a Bama Bully Rescue swag bag, hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, special small-batch samples of beer (with ID), brewery tours and more. When: 4-11 p.m. Where: Cahaba Brewing Company Website: bamabully.org

Hope Gala

What: Break out your bright colors and bold patterns for the American Cancer Society’s 2018 “Palms and Pucci” themed gala. The event will feature a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing to music by the Schmohawks and both live and silent auctions. When: 6:30 p.m. cocktail hour, silent auction and dinner, 8:30 p.m. speaker and live auction, 9:15 music and dancing Where: A private club in Birmingham Website: acs.ejoinme.org/ hopegalabirmingham


Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 5

ABOUT TOWN Website: girlscoutsnca.org

Walk to Defeat ALS

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

What: The ALS Association’s premier event is an outlet for communities across the nation to demonstrate their concern for and the urgent need to find the cure for ALS while providing the best care for those who are currently battling the disease. When: Walk check-in 10 a.m., walk

start 11 a.m. Where: Railroad Park Website: web.alsa.org

The Bell Center Tailgate Challenge

What: Celebrate the upcoming football season while supporting The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs. Event goers will enjoy tailgating food tastings at various team tents and an afternoon

of music, kid-friendly events and team rivalry. Celebrity judges will be on hand out awards for most team spirit, best tasting food and best all around. Team tent boosters are responsible for providing their own tailgate tent and team decorations. No pets allowed. When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: On the streets in front of the Bell Center in Homewood Website: thebellcenter.org

Organizers and supporters of Natyananda Dance of India met recently to discuss this year’s event. From left, Avani Patel, Sushma Boppana, Sowmya Karra, Sheila Rubin, Aviya Khan and Rupa Patel.

Sat., Aug. 18

Natyananda Dance of India

What: The Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation presents a celebration of 40 years of Natyananda Dance School. In celebration, they will perform a new program drawing material from Indian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, British, Native American and African American traditions and contemporary culture to artistically address the universal mysteries of birth and death. Tickets are $25. When: 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Where: Dorothy Jamison Day Theater Website: facebook.com/NatyanandaDanceofIndia

Caleb Clark is…Hungry!

What: Caleb Clark brings his own one-man show to Cat Cabaret, for one night only, and this time he’s singing. When: 7:30 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. Where: Central Alabama Theater at Steeple Arts Academy, Mountain Brook Website: centralalabamatheater. org

Sun., Aug. 19

L’Chaim 2018

What: The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center’s annual fundraiser honoring Joel Rotenstreich will feature the Steel City Men’s Chorus and special entertainment arranged by Keith Cromwell, executive director of Red Mountain Theatre Company; including vocalists Caleb Clark, Abijah Cunningham and Jessica Roskin as well as student performers from RMTC’s Conservatory and more. A dessert reception will follow the program. When: 2:30-4 p.m. Where: Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall Website: bhecinfo.org

Wed., Aug. 22

Learning Without Limits

What: The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the University of Alabama’s Bama at Work initiative presents the first workshop in a new series. Leadership Today focuses on

preparing you to answer the call for stronger leaders. Dr. Craig McAllaster is going to apply his knowledge as he leads relevant discussions on this topic. When: 8:30 a.m.-noon Where: Vestavia Hills City Hall Website: vestaviahills.org

Thurs., Aug. 23

Vino and Van Gogh

What: United Ability Junior Board annually offers guests a chance to taste wine from local wineries and vendors, enjoy tasty food and bid on auction items. Many of the original works of art featured have been created by participants in the LINCPoint Adult Day and Hand in Hand Early Learning programs. When: 6 p.m. Where: Haven Website: unitedability.org

Sat., Aug. 25

G.I.R.L. Leadership Summit 2018

What: Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama hosts its inaugural Leadership Summit allowing juniors, cadets, seniors and ambassadors to participate in several breakout sessions featuring engaging activities, TED-style talks, and keynote speakers focused on healthy living, STEM, physical movement, civic engagement, and mentorship and leadership development. Registration includes lunch, t-shirt and activities. When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Mountaintop Community Church

Artist Marianne Nicolson brings Indigenous histories and worldviews to light with this immersive exhibition experience…


Birmingham Museum of Art July 27 – November 25 · 2018 · Free Waterline has been made possible by the City of Birmingham and The Lydia Eustis Rogers Fund. Marianne Nicolson, Waterline, 2015, glass, wood, shell inlay, LED light, mechanism box with cover; Museum purchase, 2016.2a-c


6 • Thursday, August 9, 2018


Bell Center Breaks Ground on New, Larger Center

Bell Center children, parents, staff and members of the junior board and board of directors dug their shovels into the ground on July 25 to celebrate the new Bell Center facility. Construction on the 18,000-square-foot facility that serves children with special needs is expected to be complete by May 2019. It will include more space for children, bigger windows to offer more natural light, viewing rooms for the parents to watch their children and more. “Today was a really exciting day for us,” said Bell Center Executive Director Jeannie Colquett. “We’ve been thinking about this, we’ve been planning for it, I even saw the building go down, and it didn’t really phase me. But coming here today did. This was very emotional.” The Bell Center announced its $8.6 million campaign goal at the ceremony. Benny Larussa Jr. of Sterling Capital Management said the campaign has raised $7.6 million so far from 174 donors. Chrissi Burrell attended the groundbreaking ceremony with her daughter, Alexa, who is a participant of the Bell Center Early Intervention Program. She said she is excited for Alexa to be able to take advantage of the new space. “It’s going to help her because they’ll be able to have several different classrooms and several different additional features to the classrooms they can add,” Burrell said. “Right now, there’s only two infants that can go in a classroom, whereas now there’s going to be many more they can serve. They’ll be able to reach more people and have more spaces, because there’s a lot of kids with special needs.” Burrell admits that she was a little emotional when she saw the original building torn down. She took her son there when he was 18 months old, and she said she remembers discussions about a new building even back then. “I remember them talking about this for years, wanting it, wishing for it, envisioning it while I was here with my son,” she said. “So to see it being done now with her, it’s kind of like words cannot express.” Carlton Fountain also attended the event with her daughter, Drennan, who has been a participant in the Bell Center Early Intervention Program since she was 6 weeks old. If the project completes in time, Drennan will still have 11 months until her third birthday. “So she’ll get to enjoy some time in the new facility,” Fountain said. “And our sweet uncle, her

Journal photo by Ingrid Schnader

By Ingrid Schnader

Carlton Fountain at the Bell Center groundbreaking. Her daughter, Drennan, has been a participant of the Bell Center since she was 6 weeks old.

Attendees of the Bell Center groundbreaking event on July 25, listen to the speakers.

great-uncle, has contributed to the garden space … that will be donated in Drennan’s honor. So she’ll always have a little spot here.” The Bell Center provides early intervention services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and early childhood special education services. More than 1,500 children have been served since its inception in 1984.

Jill Deer and Benny LaRussa Jr., campaign co-chairs, speak at the groundbreaking event.

Above, Junior Board member Adam Israel places a hard hat on his son. Below, The Bell Center board of directors and city officials breaks the ground for the new facility in Homewood.


Homewood Council Rejects Proposed Development

By Ingrid Schnader Homewood City Council shot down a proposal from KADCO Homes at a Council meeting July 23 that would have turned a 2-acre property into a 12-home subdivision. The proposed subdivision, which would be called Edgewood Manor, is located in Homewood’s Neighborhood Preservation District at the corner of Saulter Road and Carr Avenue. To fit 12 homes on the properties, Jason Kessler of KADCO had a plan to rezone the lots into Homewood’s Planned Residential District. However, 18 people spoke their disapproval for the development plans and rezoning at the council meeting, and the council unanimously voted against the proposal. “We’re not 100 percent against redevelopment,” said John Shashy, who lives near the proposed subdivision. “But we’re united in this rezone. We don’t want it, and we don’t like it as neighbors.” Other neighbors echoed this sentiment. Megann Cane, who lives down the street from Shashy, said that, while she is for development, she is against 12 houses. “That’s a lot of houses, and houses that we’re not sure what they’re going to look like,” Cane said. “It’s probably not going to be the charm that we’re looking for. That’s my concern.” Other Homewood residents voiced concerns about increased traffic. Parking for nearby restaurants overflows to the neighboring streets, said Charles Thompson, a Vestavia Hills resident. “They have a major parking problem up there,” he said. “The area has heavy traffic when the restaurants are open. This will increase when you start developing this.” Saulter Road used to be a twoway street, he said, but overflow parking has turned it into a crowded one-way street.

Other residents worried about insufficient drainage. Jolene Lewis says her home is on the lowest part of a street near the proposed development and that she is most affected by the floodwaters. “When you have less dirt, less ground available for the rain to fall, it has to go somewhere,” she said. “So where is it going to go, and are we able to handle that?” At the corner of the proposed development is a newly renovated house that the developer planned to leave unchanged. “I would like to see four or five more homes that look like that,” Cane said. “But I would not like to see 12 homes on two acres.” The owner of that corner house, Ben McCullars, had different concerns regarding the development. When the developers approached him months ago to see if he would be interested in the development, he said sure. But now many people are putting the blame on him, he said. “I’ve had people come up in my yard when I’m throwing the ball with my 6-year old son, pointing their finger in my face, saying, ‘This is all your fault,’” he told the council.

Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 7

NEWS area is if you try to turn left off of Short-Saulter to go by Oglesby, you do have people trying to go both ways, and it doesn’t intersect,” he said. “With our new road, we thought it would help. With our road intersecting with Oglesby, you could just go straight across from either direction.” He also mentioned that no new driveways would be added to Carr Avenue if the property was rezoned for PRD. His NPD plan would require more driveways on Carr.

In response to the “charm” of Homewood, Kessler said that, regardless of the zoning, his team is going to build this out. “The buyers are going to dictate the style of these homes more than probably anybody else, including ourselves,” he said. “We’re going to build what people want.” Because the rezoning was not approved by the council, Kessler’s next step is to resurvey the five current lots into eight new lots. A public hearing for this resurvey was

scheduled for the Aug. 7 Planning Commission meeting, after this week’s issue went to press. Developers in other communities have run into similar opposition from residents. “They are developing Bluff Park this way,” said Facebook commenter Amanda Jackson. “They tear down one house, clear cut the whole lot, and put up so many houses peeking into each other’s windows, so close you can hear each other dream.” ❖

Bahia, Jack, Diesel and Jay Saxon with their dog Princeton

Preserving the Charm

Throughout the meeting, many Homewood residents cited ‘the charm of Homewood,’ saying this development would go against that. McCullars asked the room what that meant. “The people used to be what is great about Homewood, the charm about Homewood,” he said. “Not the four walls.” After hearing the comments from the public hearing, Kessler addressed some of the public’s concerns. He said that he’d planned to build a storm sewer system that would have helped, not hurt, the drainage system in the community. He also had plans to alleviate traffic flow. “Part of the problem with that

serving well-groomed men of all ages

“We had a long wish list for our new home.” When the Saxon family launched a search for a new home, they initially called a Realtor they had worked with previously. “We never heard back from her,” says Jay. “We found a home we liked online listed by Patrick Warren with ARC Realty. We met him to see the house. Patrick made a great first impression. He was friendly and professional.” Bahia had a fairly long list of features she wanted in a new home. “I felt sorry for Patrick, having to juggle so many priorities, but he didn’t mind at all. He worked diligently to find us the right house. When we walked into this home, I knew immediately it was where we wanted to live.” Patrick says helping families like the Saxons is rewarding. “I want to earn a life-long relationship with my clients. ARC Realty is a relationship company. Everyone on our team is committed to providing a level of service that wins customers for life.” For more information on Patrick and to see all of ARC Realty’s listings, visit arcrealtyco.com.

Patrick Warren (205) 835-1219 pwarren@arcrealtyco.com


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For more information, visit arcrealtyco.com or call (205) 969-8910.


8 • Thursday, August 9, 2018


‘A Very Important Date’ Family-Oriented Mad Hatter Tea Party at Aldridge Gardens Signals End of Summer Break

Aldridge Gardens invited parents and grandparents to take their children and grandchildren to a Mad Hatterthemed tea party on July 31. Guests were encouraged to wear their favorite hats as they sipped on tea and ate finger foods such as sandwiches and biscuits. Desserts included a Rice Krispies treat decorated like a playing card and a marshmallow decorated like a top hat. They also made a craft during the event – a decorated tea cup that served as a miniature fairy garden. ­—Ingrid Schnader Journal photos by Ingrid Schnader

Clockwise from left: Elizabeth, Eleanor and Emmeline Yother pose at the photo booth; Mia Mann and Allison Guidry; Attendees decorated tea cup planters for a small garden; Aldridge Gardens’ Debbie McDonals serves food at the event; and Emry Hendrix holds her tea cup.

For the Senses

By Ingrid Schnader Following the example set by other Birmingham destinations, Vulcan Museum and Park celebrated joining the city’s sensoryinclusive historic sites with a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 28. Visitors with sensory issues will be able to check out fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads. These tools will be available at the ticket booth and the information desk inside the Visitors Center. New quiet spaces throughout the park and museum will help individuals with sensitivity to overstimulation. Signage will be

posted throughout the area, guiding visitors to these quiet spaces. The Vulcan staff also were required to receive training from medical professionals. This training will allow the staff to recognize visitors with sensory needs and prepare them to handle a sensory overload situation. KultureCity, a non-profit founded in Birmingham in 2013, partnered with Vulcan to help the park and museum become sensoryinclusive. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the KultureCity team passed out sensory bags similar to the ones visitors will be able to check out. They also brought giveaways to the event, giving five families weighted lap pads and

Journal photo by Ingrid Schnader

Vulcan Provides Tools to Help Visitors With Sensory Issues

Hip-hop artist Sho Baraka cuts the ribbon at the Vulcan museum as they celebrate Birmingham’s latest sensory-inclusive site.

one family an iPad. Christy Kendrick attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony with her daughter, Kaileigh, who has

autism. “She doesn’t have as many sensory issues, but she does sometimes have issues with loud nois-

es,” Kendrick said. The Kendrick family traveled to the event from Gadsden, and they said they don’t see any accommodations like this in their hometown. “We’re just interested in seeing what they’re doing for the autistic community,” Kendrick said. “And we’re trying to get her more involved with other special needs kids and to find a community for her, for the future.” Hip-hop artist Sho Baraka cut the ribbon at the event. Baraka said KultureCity and the things it does for communities has affected his life because he has a son on the spectrum. “Not only has KultureCity made an indelible impact on me personally, but I’ve seen how it’s changed lives nationally,” Baraka said. “I think years from now, hopefully, KultureCity will be known as a staple in the city of Birmingham for changing lives.”


Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 9



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10 • Thursday, August 9, 2018 Miss Amazing Teen pageant in Chicago during the first week of August. The Miss Amazing Teen pageant is one that is geared specifically toward celebrating and dispelling stereotypes regarding young women with disabilities, while the National American Miss pageant seeks to foster future leaders of all young women. The program is based on inner beauty as well as poise and presentation, and it emphasizes the importance of gaining selfconfidence and learning new skills, such as good attitudes about competition, as well as setting and achieving personal goals.

Photo special to the Journal

Kari Balazs, a recent graduate of Hoover High School, competed as a state finalist in the National American Miss Teen pageant held in Birmingham at the Sheraton Hotel July 7-9. Throughout the evening she won many awards, including Miss Personality, The Spirit Award, Best Resume, second runner-up in Casual Wear Modeling and first place for Spokesmodel. According to her mother, Lisa, “In her two-minute speech, Kari talked about what Down syndrome is and what it is like to live with Down syndrome. Her first Kari Balazs place win qualifies recently repreher to represent the sented the state state of Alabama in the National as a NAM Teen Miss Amazing Spokesmodel as Teen pageant in she competes Chicago. in the national pageant being held in California over Thanksgiving.” In addition to participating in this pageant, Balazs also serves as Alabama’s Miss Amazing Teen, and she recently represented the state in the National

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Hoover’s Balazs State Finalist in Miss Teen Pageant



Vestavia Hills High School students Mary Morgan Trowbridge and Julia Stewart, above, from left, earned the first and second alternate titles, respectively.

OTM Participants Win Big in Jefferson County DYW Program

On July 21, the 2019 Distinguished Young Woman of Jefferson County program crowned its newest Distinguished Young Woman, with Leeds High School’s Emmy Beason taking the title. The event, held at Vestavia Hills

High School, featured participation from a number of young women from the Over the Mountain area; many earning top marks as the twoday pageant came to a close. Vestavia Hills High School students Mary Morgan Trowbridge and Julia Stewart earned the first and second alternate titles, respectively. Additionally, in the top 10 were


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Foundations Learning Center Gets $28K Gift from Cathedral Church of the Advent’s Lenten Lunches


It starts with a free workshop. It ends with renewed confidence. Photo special to the Journal

Cathedral Church of the Advent donated $28,050 to the Foundations Early Learning & Family Center from money raised during Advent’s 2018 Lenten Preaching Series. This year marked the 110th year of Advent’s weekday Lenten preaching services, held each year from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. The event includes not only special guest speakers, but also lunches served to anyone in the community throughout Lent. Advent, in downtown Birmingham, donates proceeds from the Lenten Lunches to a chosen outreach program. This year, chairwomen of the Lenten Lunches – Tanya Cooper, Jean Oliver, Liz Lee, Lyn Lanier, Katie Patrick, Janice Pitts and Kelley Norwood – chose Foundations Early Learning & Family Center to be the recipient. “We are beyond thrilled about this most gracious gift from the Advent,” Catherine Pittman Smith, director of communications and development at the center, said in a statement from Foundations. “The

Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 11


From left: Kelley Norwood, a chairwoman for Church of the Advent’s Lenten Lunches program; Catherine Pittman Smith, Foundations’ early learning director of development and communications; Tanya Cooper, Advent Lenten Lunches co-chair; and Kathleen Drake, head of school for Foundations Early Learning Center.

Advent and her parishioners have such incredible hearts for the gospel and for making an impact in our community. We are truly honored and humbled by this gift and consider it as an investment in growing and strengthening our Christian preschool program in Fairfield.” Bethany Rushing, director of missions and outreach for the church, said the Foundations Center was chosen because the chairwomen “were encouraged by their mission and approach to providing an environment for children and their families to grow academically and in their relationship with

Jesus.” A Christ-centered preschool in Fairfield, Foundations believes that all children should have access to a quality preschool education. It has served more than 250 children and families since 2013. Foundations continues to expand in services, providing 3K and 4K classes and an after-school care program for more than 60 children. Foundations’ programs aim to prevent developmental delays in children from birth to 4 years old and to provide the foundation needed to achieve school readiness. To learn more, visit foundationsearlylearning.org.

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Journal photos by Ingrid Schnader

12 • Thursday, August 9, 2018

Christina and Matthew Might attend the KultureBall with Lisa and Mike Perez.

Amanda Cantavespre and Catey Hall.



KultureCity Shows Its New Sensory Activation Vehicle During KultureBall

ultureCity held its annual philanthropy event, KultureBall, at the Southern Sky Aviation Hangar 34 on July 28. KultureCity unveiled the Sensory Activation Vehicle at the event, which can visit various events and offer a calm environment to those who are sensitive to overstimulation. Guests were able to walk onto the vehicle and experience all it had to offer – comfortable and colorful seating, soft lighting and sensory activities. Among those enjoying the festivities were Amanda Cantavespre, Catey Hall, Christina and Matthew Might, Lisa and Mike Perez, Jordon Gliem, Diane Knight, Lindsay Chapman, Mallory and Trey Pritchard, Mandy McMichael, Rachel Arrington, Karen Gay, Bailey Judd, Rebecca Nalley, Hateusz Minosiaw and Ola Rudzinska.

Rebecca Nalley, a Kulturecity member from Canada, with Hateusz Minosiaw and Ola Rudzinska, who are both from Poland.

Jordon Gliem, Diane Knight and Lindsay Chapman stand in front of a map that illustrates all of the sensory-inclusive locations around the U.S.

Mallory and Trey Pritchard stand in front of the Sensory Activation Vehicle.


Whether enjoying great food or bidding on unique auction items, every member of the sold-out crowd at this year’s Bark and Wine played a part in supporting the Shelby Humane Society. The event was held July 21 at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook and helped raise $100,000 for the organization’s new aggressive plan to increase the availability of its Spay Neuter program. To spice things up, this year the live auction portion of the evening, which followed a silent auction and seated dinner, offered up 12 fire hydrants that had been transformed into works of art by local artists. The hydrants were donated by the Mueller Company Water Products Division and painted by Susan Meyer and Donna McFeeters, Vallie Pate, Connie Collum, Vicki Denaburg, Melanie O’Keefe, Thomas Andrew, Pam Truitt, Shea Miller, Jane Cline, Carrie Pittman, Randy Newlin and Sherri Arias.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Bark and Wine

Fire Hydrant Art Boosts Shelby Humane Society’s Drive to Expand Spay Neuter Program

Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 13


Bayleigh Lowe and Christina Bunn.

From left, Kelly and Michael Atchison with Bridget and Wes Stephens.

Steve and Jan Henninger. Elizabeth Stanley and Rachel Hawkins.

Lee and Candice McKinney.



Journal photos by Jordan Wald

14 • Thursday, August 9, 2018

—Galleria Woods—

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Casual Event Leads Up to Gala Hope in the Ham Celebrates Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge

Galleria Woods is a premier senior living community offering distinctive amenities and attentive service. Residents enjoy a dynamic lifestyle with a selection of care options to meet changing needs, including garden homes with garages in addition to independent living apartments, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehab. Galleria Woods is an entry-fee community, which means you receive life-time care regardless of financial circumstances. “Our Life Care program offers a unique opportunity for seniors looking to plan how they will be cared for as they age and how to pay for that care. Life care offers predictable long term care expenses, significant savings on monthly costs, tax benefits, estate preservation and a Life Care Guarantee,” Josh Hullett, Sales and Marketing Director said.

As the American Cancer Society prepares for its annual Hope Gala on Aug. 18, the organization’s board took time to host its second annual Hope in the Ham soirée July 28 at Leaf and Petal in Cahaba Heights. The more casual event raised funds and celebrated the ACS’s Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge, which provides cancer patients and caregivers a free place to stay while they receive treatment. Throughout the evening, guests sampled a wide selection of foods from around Birmingham and heard from Dr. Kristen Triebel Gerstenecker, a neuropsychologist at UAB and ACS research grantee who is studying the cognitive effects of chemotherapy and radiation to improve the communication between cancer patients and physicians looking for the best form of treatment. ❖

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Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 15


Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Alex Savas with former professional boxer and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, one of 50 recipients of Positive Maturity’s Top 50 Over 50 Award.

From left, Dianne Baer, Marcia Hart and Amanda Wilson.

Keep it Positive Top 50 Over 50 Recognized at Annual Awards Reception

Since 2014, Positive Maturity has been naming its Top 50 Over 50, highlighting local adults who go above and beyond, finding opportunities to make a difference in the community, becoming a catalyst in the world and living without regrets. This year’s class gathered July 26 at The Club Inc. with local supporters for an evening of celebration in their honor, featuring a seated dinner and live music. Serving as emcees for the event were Brenda Ladun and Tina Savas, who helped recognize and present awards to this year’s 50 recipients. Members of the 2018 Class include Kim Rafferty Abbott, retired Col. Robert L. Barefield Sr., Katherine N. Barr, Dr. Jack Bradford, Joan Broerman, Rick Burgess, Johnny Carcioppolo, Paul S. Carruthers, Lois “Mama” Coleman, Locke Donaldson, Gwen DeRu, Casi Ferguson, Sue Ellen Gerrells, Fran Gilroy, the Rev. Steve Green, Dr. Leon C. Hamrick, Gregory Harber, Evander Holyfield, Ken Hubbard, Robyn James, Roy S. Johnson, Susan Johnston, L.G. “Brother Bud” Jones, Alan Kaufman, Lt. Andrea Knight, Joe Knight, John Krontiras, Don Leo, the Rev. T.L. Lewis, Andrea Lindenberg, Dr. Suzanne Martin, Linda and Evan Major, Dr. Patricia Naro, Jack “Pat” Patrick, Dick Pigford, Dr.

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald

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Annual Otey’s Fest Draws Crowd to Crestline Village A sea of people gathered in the parking lot in front of Otey’s Tavern in Crestline Village on July 28 to listen to music, eat burgers and raise funds for local charitable organizations. The annual Otey’s Fest featured music by Rebirth Brass Band, the New Orleans Suspects, Diner, T.U.B. and The Hurlers. As the music played, Otey’s head chef, Rodney Davis, grilled his famous burgers for hungry guests while kids enjoyed playing on inflatables. Funds raised through the event will benefit Better Basics and Phoenix Club of Birmingham. ❖

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Journal photos by Jordan Wald

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Art on the Rocks Celebrates Second Installment of Summer Series The Birmingham Museum of Art was bustling and brimming with activities July 27 as the museum hosted its July installment of the Art on the Rocks summer event series. Headlining the evening of music and arts was the Shreveport band Seratones. Also featured at the event was a fashion show by the Birmingham-based brand Splashed by DKG, showcasing luxury streetwear. As far as art was concerned, guests were able to pick up a paint brush and put their mark on an interactive mural by Blank Space Bham, take part in a macrame demonstration by Bonnybee Designs or go on a gallery hunt with Angie May and check out the new Waterline Exhibition. In addition, Seasick Records set up a DJ set as guests awaited the mainstage event at the end of the evening. The next installment of Art on the Rocks will take place Aug. 17, featuring a performance by Tank and the Bangas. ❖

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Journal photo by Ingrid Schnader

18 • Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ron and Lu Ann Smith said they had wanted to remodel their house ever since they moved in 20 years ago, but converting the closed-in house to an open concept design would be a big project, and so the job never made it to the top of the to-do list. With help from Kathy Owens, who owns Kathy’s Designer Kitchens, the team enlarged the kitchen, above, doing away with a small living room. The new kitchen features lots of white, two large pantry cabinets on either side of the dining room entrance, and Lu Ann’s favorite element — the hanging lights.

Messy Houseguest Catalyst for Home Remodel

Photo courtesy Lu Ann Smith

A curious, enthusiastic dog was the catalyst for a long-delayed remodeling of a 1960s house in Vestavia Hills. Ron and Lu Ann Smith said they had wanted to remodel their house ever since they moved in 20 years ago, but converting the closed-in house to an open concept design would be a big project, and so the job never made it to the top of the to-do list. Then one day while the Smiths were pet sitting for their son’s dog, C.J, they ran out for just a bit. “I get back and notice there were these little black dots all over the floor – carpet, sheet vinyl, everything,” Ron said. “And I look at C.J., and she’s just covered in something. It looks like mud. And I’m like, ‘How did she get … the mud inside?’ But C.J. can work doorknobs, so that’s what I thought.” Ron said he tried to wipe up the mud, but it wouldn’t come off. He followed the trail into the bedroom. “In the middle of the bed, there’s this big black spot,” he said. Ron had put shoe edging on his nightstand the night before. C.J. had found it and bitten into it, jetting out shoe polish from each end. “It soaked the mattress … and she lay in it. That’s what was on her chest. Then she had toured the house,” Ron said. But Ron said the mess was a catalyst to start the remodel he and his wife had been planning for two decades, ever since they moved into the house Ron’s father, Albie

Before and after views of the kitchen area.

Vestavia Hills Couple Update Their ’60s Home with Big Open Spaces

Journal photos by Ingrid Schnader

By Ingrid Schnader


Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 19

HOME down the walls at the foyer, bringing in light and showcasing the greenery outside the window on the other side of the house. “The best view in the house, to me, is in the back here, looking at the green and to be able to see that and open it up, getting all of the light in,” Ron said.

Moving Things Around

View from enlarged kitchen to the dinning room, above. The Smith’s were using this space off the kitchen as their living room, right.

Smith, built 50 years ago. Like Ron, Albie also was an architect and worked on a lot of schools, churches and BellSouth buildings in the area. “This house was built like a ‘60s house,” Ron said. “So nothing was in big open spaces that people like these days.” Smith said he’d always wanted to remodel the foyer because people walking into the house immediately faced a wall, and they had to go either to the left or to the right. Many walls would have to come down to create the Smiths’ vision. When they were ready, they called Kathy Owens, who

owns Kathy’s Designer Kitchens. She has been remodeling kitchens for 40 years. “They wanted to be able to see through the house,” Owens said. “Like when you walk in the front door, they wanted to be able to see to the back of the house.” Once she started the job, Owens said, it spread, and eventually the only first floor room that had not been transformed was the dining room. “The rest of the rooms were changed unbelievably.” she said. “It was very dramatic.” The team was able to knock

The master bathroom previously had two entrances, one from the master bedroom and one from a second bedroom. There wasn’t a guest bathroom. During the remodel, one of those doors was closed off and the second bedroom was converted into a laundry room, saving the couple from descending a flight of stairs to the basement each time they did laundry. “The way we redid everything, they can live forever on the first floor of that house,” Owens said. The team enlarged the kitchen, doing away with a small living room. The new kitchen features lots of white, two large pantry cabinets on either side of the dining room entrance, and Lu Ann’s favorite element — the hanging lights. Lu Ann spent 35 years working for Southern Living, and she said they frequently had “prop sales,” in which items featured in the photo shoots could be bought. About 25 years ago, Lu Ann bought these lights from one of

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the prop sales. They had been stored in a box ever since. Owens said Lu Ann asked her to look at the lights. “So I looked at them, and I’ve always loved this light,” she said. The lights are little glass discs that look like they are floating in the air. Owens changed the halogen fixture to LED. “She was so thrilled that I could use her design,” Owens said. “Just small things like that, it just means a lot to them when they can have what’s important to them, what makes them happy.”

A Father’s Vision

Throughout the remodeling, Ron

HOME said he didn’t want to do anything to the house that he didn’t think his father would approve of. He kept most of the detailing traditional while adding contemporary aspects in other places. “When I was at Auburn, you were not allowed to do anything traditional,” Ron said. “If you did, it was an F.” Now, he said he feels more comfortable mixing traditional elements with contemporary ones, such as how he remodeled his house. “There were some major changes that were done that made a huge difference in that house,” Owens said. “They loved it, and I’m so glad they do. They are just the nicest family.”


Throughout the remodeling, Ron said he didn’t want to do anything to the house that he didn’t think his father would approve of.

Clockwise from above: View from the foyer; new main level powder room and laundry room; enlarged den; Ron and Lu Ann Smith.

Journal photos by Ingrid Schnader

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Restaurant Week Builds on Birmingham’s Culinary Success

manager for Tito’s Handmade Vodka, said Tito’s will have a “huge build-your-own Bloody Mary bar” at the brunch. “We’ll also be doing specialty cocktails featured at some of the participating restaurants,” Cobb said.

Photo special to the Journal

Since the 2017 edition of Birmingham Restaurant Week, the city has been on a pretty cool ride, food-wise. Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill and the restaurant’s pastry chef, Dolester Miles, won James Beard Foundation Awards. Birmingham made Zagat’s list of the 30 Most Exciting Food Cities in America and was touted by Wine Enthusiast as a place for “top tier drinking and dining.” In May, TV chef Andrew Zimmern was in town to film an episode of “The Zimmern List,” his new Travel Channel series. The city’s culinary street cred is on the rise across the United States – but that’s no surprise to people such as James Little, REV Birmingham district manager and the person who founded Birmingham Restaurant Week in 2010. “We’ve always known Birmingham had a unique food culture, so we are pleased to offer this 10-day dining opportunity to the residents and restaurants of Birmingham who have helped shape that culture,” Little said. “From diners, chefs, culinary startups, Alabama farmers and food retailers alike, they’ve all had a hand in the food-driven revitalization and high praise of our city.” BRW 2018 runs Aug. 10-19. The event gives diners budget-friendly opportunities to revisit favorite restaurants or try out new ones. More than 70 restaurants already have signed up to participate with special lunch or dinner prix-fixe menus for $10, $15, $20, $30 or $40 per person. A July 23 BRW preview party at the Pizitz Food Hall drew a lively mix of chefs, restaurateurs, media folks and others eager for a taste of the event. On one side of the room, chef Mac Russell painstakingly plated up a beautiful bowl of rabbit agnolotti with parmesan brodo. Russell has owned Shindigs, a popular Birmingham food truck, for several years. But he said his new Forest Park restaurant, Whistling Table, is giving him the opportunity to participate in Restaurant Week for the first time. Russell’s agnolotti joined farmers market pappardelle from Vino in Mountain Brook’s English Village, a big plate of ribs from Dreamland Bar-B-Que, pho – Vietnamese rice noodle soup – from Pho Pho Vietnamese and Sushi Bar, and other Instagram-worthy creations on a display table. Those dishes were shown off just to give those who attended the party an idea of what to expect on BRW menus, but another table held a colorful array of food for guests to sample. Dre Foster, chef and owner of The Preservery Bham, made smoked gouda grits fritters with spicy apple butter, pimento cheese with celery pickles, pretty pink deviled eggs and crudités with her house Caesar dressing. “We’re at the Pizitz Food Hall’s Reveal Kitchen now and will be participating in Restaurant Week,” Foster said. Chef Ben Vaughn will be another BRW

first-timer for a very good reason: His Root to Tail restaurant in English Village wasn’t open in time for him to take part in last year’s event. “Summertime can be difficult in Birmingham, and this event brings in people who may not be your typical diners,” Vaughn said. Next year, he may have more than one restaurant in the BRW lineup. Vaughn said he’s getting ready to open Libertines Craft Pizza Co. in the old Cosmo’s Pizza spot at Birmingham’s Five Points. According to event planners, BRW restaurants typically see a 20 percent average increase in sales compared to a normal week. The 2017 Winter and Summer Restaurant Weeks resulted in 33,500 BRW meals sold, totaling $4.5 million in gross receipts during the event. Many of the restaurants that participate in BRW are clients of REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project, an initiative that aims to build a strong local food economy and to increase access to fresh, nutritious food. UFP helps local restaurants, corner store owners and farmers in producing, selling, distributing and promoting locally sourced ingredients. This distribution gives more quality food options to the approximately 88,000 Birmingham residents who live in food deserts – urban areas where it’s hard to buy highquality or affordable fresh food. Regions Bank is the presenting sponsor for Birmingham Restaurant Week. This is the seventh year the Birmingham-based bank has served in that role.

See BRW, page 23

Chef Mac Russell has owned Shindigs, a popular Birmingham food truck, for several years. But he said his new Forest Park restaurant, Whistling Table, is giving him the opportunity to participate in Restaurant Week for the first time.


Journal photo by Jordan Wald

By Donna Cornelius

Mountain Brook native Charles Higgenbotham (pictured) has been selected as a Kirchner Food Fellow by the Kirchner Food Fellowship. The fellowship, a Kirchner Impact Foundation initiative, is an investment program that harnesses the power of millennials to find, fund and assist promising, socially responsible agricultural businesses. The program provides capital and hands-on training in capital allocation for university students. Higgenbotham was a Sustainable Agriculture Systems Volunteer in the United States Peace Corps, completing his service in Panama. He was a standout football player at Mountain Brook High School, the University of Alabama, and the University of South Alabama. Today, he’s at Cornell University, where he is pursuing a master’s of professional studies degree in agriculture and life sciences with a specialization in international agriculture and rural development.


Birmingham-based Pihakis Restaurant Group recently announced the brand refresh of Little Donkey restaurant, a popular full-service neighborhood taqueria. But not to worry – the restaurant’s popular Famous Fried Chicken hasn’t left the building. First opened in Homewood in 2012, Little Donkey now has a second Birminghamarea location in Hoover as well as stores in Montgomery and Nashville. “We’re thrilled about the growth and success Little Donkey has seen over the past six years,” said Joshua Gentry, Little Donkey’s chef and owner. “As such, we felt it was time to offer a refreshed menu and branding, and we are

BRW Extras

In addition to 10 days of great dining deals, Birmingham Restaurant Week has several special events. Kicking off the fun is a Harvest Brunch on Aug. 11 at Social Venture, 5529 First Ave. S in Woodlawn. More than 20 restaurants will serve brunch bites along with mimosas and Bloody Marys. Trip Cobb, Alabama sales

excited to share it with our guests.” The newly expanded menu, now offered at all locations, mixes authentic Mexican food and Southern soul. New dishes include Grilled Gulf Fish Tacos with sliced avocado, pico de gallo, lime and cilantro; the Albondigas Sandwich featuring pork and beef meatballs, roasted tomato broth, Jack cheese, crema, queso fresco and pickled onions; and the Tamale

See FOODIE NEWS, page 23

22 • Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rehab Reality... By Judy and Julie Butler



’Lette the Fun Begin Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Macarons Shop Opens in Cahaba Heights

A New School Year Begins

The new school year brings excitement for many and anxiety for others. The first day of school depicts a new start. Many parents, teachers, and students are hopeful about the “new” year bringing new beginnings, agreements, healthier habits and routines. All are hopeful this will be the time it works because it’s a “new” season. Unfortunately, often times the momentum diminishes after the initial anxiety settles. The curriculum and classrooms become points of frustration and bothersome rather than excitement and tools for progress. It’s important for the teacher, parent and student to recognize the purpose and focus on the goal of a successful school year. They must also be mindful of the dangers that can derail this success such as alcohol and/or drugs use. The same premise applies to the recovering alcoholic/addict and their “new beginning” after rehab. Just as students need to keep the focus on better grades and performance the alcoholic/ addict must keep the focus on his or her goal of sobriety. At Bayshore Retreat we work hard to prepare our clients for this new beginning with tools for success. With that come his or her After Care Plan such as where they will live, work and any follow-up counseling. People leave there with a new outlook and the understanding that we’re only a phone call away should they falter. Because of our small size (only 6 clients at a time) there is a bonding between staff and clients that strengthens the fortitude to be successful. The opportunity to have a New Year of you can be as exciting as a new school year for students.

By Donna Cornelius Beverly Hills has lots of attractions, from the posh shops of Rodeo Drive to random celebrity sightings. But Crystal Lovelady and her husband, Shane, got a really sweet taste of the California city at a shop that specializes in a distinctly French treat: macarons. “My husband’s office was in Beverly Hills, right around the corner from ’Lette Macarons,” said Crystal Lovelady, adding that she and her husband spent a year in California before moving back to their home in Vestavia Hills. “We fell in love with it.” Once the couple returned to Alabama, they had ’Lette Macarons shipped to them. “That’s how much we missed them,” Crystal said. Crystal, a civil engineer, said she and Shane, a real estate appraiser and broker, were looking for and praying about the right business opportunity. Opening a ’Lette Macarons shop through a licensing agreement with the owner seemed just the recipe they were looking for. “Everything just fell into place,” Crystal said. ’Lette Macarons opened in Cahaba Heights July 24 with a festive celebration. “We were really surprised at how many people came,” Crystal said. “We had friends, family, and about 25 people from the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce.” Paulette Koumetz, a native of Paris, opened her first macarons shop in Beverly Hills in 2007. “My husband and I came from Paris to the United States in 2005 to start a new adventure,” Koumetz said. “We had a clothing company in France and sold it. We wanted to start something new.” They hit on a shop that would specialize in macarons, a time-honored French confection. Macarons are small sandwich-like meringue cookies made with almond flour and egg whites and filled with creamy ganache, jam or a cream-based filling. They’re persnickety treats that are notoriously difficult for even skilled home cooks to make. While the confections have grown in popularity in the U.S. during the last few years, they weren’t well known when the Koumetzes opened their first shop. “They were not popular here; we were surprised,” Paulette Koumetz said. “When we were getting the store ready, we put up very nice big pictures inside the store of macarons. People would see them and say, ‘Is it a hamburger?’” She said passersby also asked if the bakery would be serving macaroons, which are dense

Crystal Lovelady, above, a civil engineer, said she and husband Shane, a real estate appraiser and broker, were looking for and praying about the right business opportunity. Opening a ’Lette Macarons shop through a licensing agreement with the owner seemed to be just the recipe they were looking for. Top, flavors range from classic to exotic.

cookies made with coconut. “We had to explain the difference,” Koumetz said. Macarons aren’t made at the Cahaba Heights store but shipped in from the parent company. “I’m a baker myself, but macarons are really labor intensive,” Crystal Lovelady said. “Paulette knows her stuff. She has the perfect recipe.” Flavors range from classic to exotic. The ’Lette Macarons menu includes Caribbean chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, passion fruit, rose, salted caramel, coconut, Earl Grey tea, lemon – all filled with ganache in the same flavor – and violet cassis with violet ganache and black currant jam. Koumetz said she’s partial to the Colombian coffee macaron, while Lovelady said she likes the sweet wedding almond. “We were always asking customers, ‘Is there a flavor you’d like to have?’” Koumetz said. “They asked for red velvet, and that’s how that flavor was born. It’s been a huge, huge hit – now, it’s one of our classics.”

Seasonal offerings include pumpkin in the fall and white chocolate for Christmas. “Everybody always wants to know when our pumpkin macarons are coming,” Koumetz said. The stores also have shortbread cookies. “I’ve been surprised at how many shortbread cookies we’ve sold already,” Lovelady said. “People will buy them and come back and say, ‘Oh my gosh – those were really good.’” Lovelady said she’s happy to work with customers on custom orders but advised giving her plenty of notice. In addition to educating customers about macarons, Koumetz said she also had to convince them that these petite treats packed a big punch of flavor. “We found that Americans weren’t used to small pastries but to huge things,” she said. “But when they tried them, they loved them.” ’Lette Macarons is at 3112 Heights Village in Vestavia Hills. For more information, call 518-0808, follow the store on Instagram @ lettevestaviahills, or visit lettemacarons.com.


Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 23


in hosting Boiling N’ Bragging a football kick-off party and low country boil from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Aug. 18 in the parking lot outside Otey’s Tavern in Crestline. Guests will enjoy live music, $1 drink specials and kids’ activities. Entertainment will be provided by Lance Taylor and Rockstar from WJOX’s Roundtable. Guests are encouraged to wear their favorite Gage and Grason Sanspree with Big AL at last college football team year’s Boiling N’ Bragging event. colors. Proceeds benefit critical care transport at The 53 clubs of Rotary Children’s of Alabama.. International District 6860 are For more information and partnering with Children’s of to purchase tickets, visit Alabama, Otey’s Tavern, Spectrum boilingnbragging.org. Business and Waste Management

FOODIE NEWS From page 21

Plate, made with freshly ground masa and served with smoked pork or brisket. Several other dishes besides Little Donkey’s fried chicken remain on the menu. The restaurant will continue to grind its own masa and offer handmade flour tortillas. Weekend brunch will now be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The brunch menu will feature dishes such as huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos, and Gulf shrimp and grits. For more information, visit thelittledonkey.com.


Learn about and sample some of Alabama’s best craft beer at the Magic City Brewfest. Free the Hops will present the event from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 10 and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 11 at Avondale Park, 4101 Fifth Ave. S, Birmingham. More than 150 beers will be available, including many rare specialty and cask ales. For tickets and more information, visit magiccitybrewfest.com.


The Literacy Council of Central Alabama’s junior board will host the Kickin’ Chicken Wing Fest 2018 at 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Ghost Train Brewing Co., 2616 Third Ave. S, Birmingham. Tickets to the cook-off include all the chicken wings you can eat from competing teams. The event also has live music and a kids’ zone. Ghost Train will be selling brews, too. Early bird tickets are $15 through Aug. 10. Visit litchicken.org for more information, to buy tickets or to register a cook-off team.


This year’s annual Taste of Birmingham, benefiting the Birmingham Boys Choir, will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 21 at Haven, 2515 Sixth Ave. S, Birmingham. You can buy tables or single tickets to the tasting event, which features food from Birmingham restaurants and music by the choir’s Concert Choristers. To buy tickets or for more information, visit birminghamboyschoir.com.


A tasty festival starring one of the South’s favorite comfort foods is back for a return engagement. The second annual Magic City Mac and Cheese Festival will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at Brookwood Village. The Community Grief Support fundraiser is hosted by the organization’s junior board. Those who attend can taste mac and cheese creations from Birmingham restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Vendors who want to participate should call Katie Harris-Lovoy at 205-870-8667 or send an email to macfestbhm@gmail.com. To buy tickets or for more information, visit macfestbhm.com.

Journal photo by Jordan Wald

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

The Ultimate Football Kickoff Party


A July 23 BRW preview party at the Pizitz Food Hall drew a lively mix of chefs, restaurateurs, media folks and others eager for a taste of the event. From left, Katie Rush, Tara Massouleh, Sara Dyer and Nicole Gerrity.

Cobb drew preview party guests to his table by mixing up Birmingham Mules – drinks made with Buffalo Rock ginger ale – Chilton County peaches, homemade peach puree and, of course, Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Those who sign up for another BRW special event will have a chance to work off as well as take in some calories. Birmingham Tasting Tours will lead a Magic City Eats bike tour from 3-5 p.m. Aug. 11. Those who buy tickets will hop on green Zyp bikes and pedal off to Whistling Table, Slice in Birmingham’s Lakeview District, and the new Blueprint on 3rd at Pepper Place for chef-curated tastings. Lucky Cat Rolled Creams in Homewood will be showing off its sweet treats. Owner Hannah Slamen said she’ll offer five or six rolls of ice cream in different flavors and with toppings. Lucky Cat, which opened in February, is another BRW newbie. “My husband and I have enjoyed Restaurant Week as customers,” Slamen said. “We’re excited to be on the other end. I love being part of the changes happening in Birmingham. I feel proud to be a part of it.” BRW organizers said they expect close to 80 participating restaurants this year. Those already singed up are 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar, Avondale Common House & Distillery, Bartaco, Bistro 218, Bottega Café, Bottega Dining Room, Brennan’s Irish Pub, Cantina, Carlile’s BBQ, Chez Lulu, Customs Café, Dreamland BBQ, Fero,

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Flemings Prime Steakhouse, FLIP Burger Boutique, Grille 29, Habitat Feed & Social, Jojo’s on Broadway, Little Italy, Lucky Cat Rolled Creams, Michael’s Restaurant, Mason Dixon Bakery, Ocean, Oscar’s at the Museum, Pazzo Big Slice Pizza, Perry’s Steakhouse, Pho Pho Vietnamese and Sushi Bar, Rojo, Root to Tail, Roots & Revelry, Rusty’s BBQ, Sammy’s Sandwich Shop, Satterfield’s, Seasons 52, Sky Castle, Slice, Taco Morro Loco, Taj India, The Cowfish, The Craft Burger, The Gardens Café, The Grill at Iron City, The Wine Loft, The Yard, Vino and Whistling Table. For a list of participating restaurants, menus, special events and more information, visit bhamrestaurantweek.com. BRW also is active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and

From page 21

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Snapchat and can be found @bhamrestweek. The event’s official hashtag is #BRW2018. The BRW “Free Food Friday” contest on Facebook will take place again, allowing fans to receive gift certificates to a BRW-participating restaurant each Friday.

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24 • Thursday, August 9, 2018


Taking the Con By Emily Williams Carrying on Mountain Brook Schools’ legacy of strong speech and debate participants, two students from Mountain Brook Junior High made their presence known at the National Speech and Debate Middle School Tournament. Rising ninth-graders Jane Grey Battle and Claire Lauterbach won the national championship in public forum debate. They were the only team from Alabama to compete in the category, going up against 93 other teams. Overall there were more than 1,200 entries from 166 middle schools across the U.S., China, Taiwan and South Korea represented at the tournament, held June 20-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Battle and Lauterbach debated whether to keep the North American Free Trade Agreement intact, winning from a “con” stance in the final round. The duo competed in 11 rounds of debate over three days, winning over teams from California, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Virginia and China to end with a 10-1 record. “It was so incredible to be able to debate teams from all over the country and overseas,” said Lauterbach. “We made once in a lifetime connections with people that otherwise, we never would have met.”

Both team members said they were happy just to be able to participate in the tournament, so winning was the icing on the cake. “Nationals is also such a great way to spread the word about debate, especially for middle-schoolers,” Lauterbach said, adding that she and her teammate hope that the tournament itself and their win might possibly influence other kids in Alabama to start debating. Lauterbach was originally pushed to join the debate team by her father. “Going in, I just thought it would just be a supervised way to argue,” she said. “After becoming a part of the team, I learnt it was so much more.” Through their participation on the debate team, Lauterbach said she found that, while the team does require some arguing, it also teaches students to keep up-to-date on current events, learn to think quickly and critically and is an opportunity to create new and lasting friendships with students that they may not have spent a lot of time with otherwise. Fellow MBJH debaters at the competition included eighth-grader Christian Glenos and ninth-grader Jack Sansbury competing in the Lincoln Douglas debate. They went up against 73 other debaters discussing the topic of whether the United States’ use of

Photo courtesy National Speech and Debate Middle School Tournament

MBJH’s Battle and Lauterbach Earn National Speech and Debate Title

Mountain Brook Junior High rising ninth graders Claire Lauterbach and Jane Grey Battle brought home the national champion title for public forum at the National Speech and Debate Middle School Tournament, held June 20-22 in Ft. Laurderdale, Florida.

targeted killing in foreign countries is unjust. Both advanced to elimination rounds and Glenos was recognized as the fourth-best speaker in that division. Though the Mountain Brook Debate Team has been around since the 1980s, this is the fourth year the junior high school team has existed. Debate coach Elizabeth Wood-Weas now oversees the team’s nearly 70 members, as

well as serving as district chair and middle school curriculum committee member for the Alabama chapter of the National Speech and Debate Association. It’s a project that benefits not only the school and its students, but the city as a whole. According to Wood-Weas, Mountain Brook’s hosting the national tournament last summer generated an estimated $14 million dollars for Mountain Brook and Birmingham.

Students in the Over the Mountain community participated in the mathematical event of the year this summer, bringing home high scores. Math teams representing the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Hoover High School and Vestavia Hills High School scored high marks in the Mu Alpha Theta National Math Convention, held July 8-13 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Alabama School of Fine Arts ASFA placed ninth overall as a school, with high-scoring students including Aiden Yoder, ninth in mu differential equations; Eric Cheng, ninth in mu chalk talk; Isabel Silwal, 10th in alpha chalk talk; William Holland, ninth in theta 3-D geometry; Sofia Rabbani, first in theta chalk talk; and Isabel Silwal, second in alpha Gemini and sixth for the Alpha Gemini Award. Hoover High School Overall, the team placed 11th in the country, with sophomores placing sixth and juniors placing ninth. Team members who placed among the top 10 students in the country included Abhinav Gullapalli, eighth in functions; and Andy Kong, sixth in history of math. Vestavia Hills High School Forty VHHS students participated

Photo special to the Journal

OTM Students Get Mathematical, Earn Top Scores at National Mu Alpha Theta Convention

Forty VHHS students participated in the competition, with 82 awards returning home with them. The team placed third overall in the competition with Courtney Flurry earning first in theta applications and Eileen Liu winning first in speed math. in the competition, with 82 awards returning home with them. The team placed third overall in the competition with Courtney Flurry earning first in theta applications and Eileen Liu winning first in speed math. In addition, high scoring teammates in the top 10 in a variety of categories included William Zhang, 4th in open number theory, tenth in mu relay and sixth in mu ciphering; Eileen Liu, sixth in open number theory, third in theta individual and eighth in open codes and ciphers; Courtney Flurry, fourth in theta individual, eighth in theta relay, fourth in theta logs/ exponents/radicals and seventh in theta ciphering; Kyuna Kim, eighth in

open number theory; Colin Bamford, sixth in alpha analytic geometry; and Jack Lin, ninth in alpha trigonometry, eighth in alpha complex numbers and seventh in alpha applications. Others in the top 10 were Rizwan Khan, tenth in alpha polar coordinate system; Jason Han, sixth in theta circles/perimeters/area/volume, eighth in open mental math, second in 2D geometry and seventh in theta 3D geometry; Alex Stern, seventh in theta circles/perimeters/area/ volume and fifth in 2D geometry; David Wang, sixth in theta analytic geometry; Allen Li, second in mu chalk talk; Shivani Reddy, fifth in alpha chalk talk; Safa Khan, ninth in theta chalk talk; Eric Wang, fourth

in theta relay and sixth in theta matrices; Kathy Chen, fifth for the alpha Gemini award, sixth in 2D geometry and ninth in theta Gemini; Walter Zhang, third in mu sequences and series and fifth in open proofs and logics; and Rohith Vuribindi won tenth for the Alpha Gemini Award.

Hoover Schools Welcome New Director of Curriculum and Instruction In July, a new face began to grace the halls of Hoover City Schools and the Board of Education as Dr. Autumm M. Jeter joined the staff as director of curriculum and instruction.

Jeter, a native of Fairfield and resident of Hoover, has been an educator for 17 years, beginning as a middle and high school teacher before serving administratively for the past 12 years. She earned her bachelor’s at Talladega College, her master’s at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her doctorate and educational specialist degree at Samford University. “My new role allows me the opportunity to work with all schools in the district,” Jeter said in a Q&A with school officials. “My focus will be on curriculum and instruction, which is the foundation for all things. I will collaborate with the Dr. Autumm M. Jeter curriculum and instruction department, principals and instructional coaches in order to ensure that the most rigorous and targeted instruction is being provided for all students K-12.” Before taking on this new position, she was a principal, but she said she began to seek opportunities to expand her impact on a districtwide level. “As a leader in education, I recognize one has to be able to build


Vestavia Hills Hosts Statewide Heal Alabama PE Teacher Training On June 12, Vestavia Hills City Schools hosted physical education teachers from throughout the state for training through HealInstitute. The program was organized by Heal Alabama, a Birmingham-based nonprofit started by Vestavia Hills resident Christy Swaid. Throughout the day, teachers participated in fitness games and learned more about the organization’s classroom materials that blend curriculum education with lessons on how to live a healthier lifestyle. For example, teachers teamed up for a relay race of physical exercises with a beverage theme that teaches children more about the importance of choosing water over soda. According to Swaid, Vestavia Hills schools were a big part in the early development of the Heal program and its success in the state. She hopes more schools throughout the country will begin to adopt the program. Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Todd Freeman, who took over his position during the spring, noted that support of programs such as Heal are an important part of his vision for the future of the school system. “This isn’t just for the students, but it is also an employee wellness opportunity, and I see great potential in its future with the state,” he said. “The fact that the program teaches lessons on cardiovascular care is something that is particularly important to me on a personal level, having lost my father to a heart attack at the age of 18.” Since its development in 2002, Heal has grown from a kitchen-table

operation to serving more than 130 schools, including 26,000 children and families throughout the state.

Riverchase Elementary Named Lighthouse School Riverchase Elementary School has been named a 2018 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School. According to award officials, Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools commit to sharing expertise and practices with other schools throughout the country, as well as to providing mentoring and networking to schools seeking guidance and assistance in school improvement initiatives. Riverchase Elementary School sought this designation during the 2017-2018 School Year participating in a nine-point assessment conducted by program officials that judges the school’s approach to student support, curriculum, teaching and learning, technology, community, leadership, community partnerships, school culture and more. “It was a collaborative effort of all stakeholders,” Principal Dr. Alice Turney said. “The commitment to excellence at Riverchase is evident in our achievement. I am proud of our accomplishment and look forward to growing as we look for new and innovative ways to meet the needs of our students. It would have never been possible without the hard work of our students, teachers, staff and parents. The support of our PTO and Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy made the decision easy for our school to undergo this rigorous process.” This award will be presented during the Blue Ribbon Schools Blueprint for Excellence National Conference, held in Orlando this fall.

School Principal Alecia Hunsberger described Corley as “extremely resourceful and someone who takes initiative in a variety of ways around our school.” In addition to her nursing duties, Corley helps organize various school events throughout the year, including coordinating the annual VHECH Walk to School Day each fall and sponsoring the school’s Girls on the Run team. “She encourages a healthy lifestyle not just for our students, but for our entire faculty and staff as well,” Hunsberger said.

Photo special to the Journal

professional relationships with all, have knowledge of the core content, and be intentional and efficient in leading successful schools,” she said. Jeter noted that, as a community member and parent of Hoover students, she entered the position knowing the district boasts strong academic programming, builds leaders, educates the “whole” child and has a strong diversity among students. Through her work, she seeks to build on the foundation set to make the curriculum and instruction even stronger. “The best part about serving others through public education is simple. We have the opportunity to mold, shape, encourage, inspire and prepare all students for their futures,” she said. “Our children’s future college, career and life goals are typically determined or molded by an experience at school; and as a public school educator, the best part of serving others is by giving my all professionally to the children we serve, faculties and community at large.”

Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 25


VHECH school nurse Julie Corley, center, pictured with family, was named Alabama School Nurse of the Year at a recent state Department of Education summer conference.

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Cahaba Heights Nurse Named State School Nurse of the Year Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights nurse Julie Corley has been named Alabama’s School Nurse of the Year. Vestavia school officials made the announcement July 25, and Corley received the award during the Alabama State Department of Education’s Summer Conference in Mobile. According to school officials, the award recognizes her excellence in the field of school nursing and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. Though Corley has served as school nurse at VHECH for the past 11 years, she began her nursing career as a pediatric and neonatal intensive care nurse. She also devotes a portion of her time as a student liaison for Samford University’s school of nursing. “It’s a very big honor and I was shocked to receive it,” Corley said. “All of our school nurses could have received this award because of how great they are.” Her family surprised her by attending her award ceremony.

Susan Fitzgibbon (205) 587-6930 sfitzgibbon@arcrealtyco.com



26 • Thursday, August 9, 2018



‘We’re All Just Teenagers Trying to Find Our Way’

Vestavia Volleyball Star Dedicated to Service off the Court, Sacrifice on It

Journal file photo by Mark Almond

Vestavia Hills senior volleyball star Hannah Vines had a busy summer. She and Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby were selected to represent Alabama at the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Student Leadership Summit. NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner kicked off the summit, which was held July 23-25 in Indianapolis, with a message that Vines said was the most important she heard during the summit. “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you,” she recited. “That’s the biggest thing that I took away from that conference.” Otherwise, she said that meeting other kids from across the U.S. was a highlight of the trip. “We’re all different, because we’re all from different parts of the country. But it was also cool to see how we’re all the same. We’re all just teenagers trying to find our way,” Vines said. The trip’s origins can be traced back to March, when Vestavia Hills principal Tyler Burgess and athletics director Jeff Segars first chose Vines to represent the school at the Alabama High School Athletic Association Student Leadership Conference. It was there that she

Photo special to the Journal

By Blake Ells

Vestavia’s Hannah Vines, above left, made a mission trip to Guatemala with Shades Mountain Baptist Church during spring break 2018. Vines and Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby were selected to represent Alabama at the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Student Leadership Summit this summer.

and Koby were chosen from among 18 students to represent the state at the NFHS summit. Vines’ service began early in life, largely because of her dedication to her church, Shades Mountain Baptist. She was serving others through vacation Bible school as early as elementary school, involvement that has continued all the way to her first foreign mission trip to Guatemala earlier this year. She’s been passionate about Spanish since middle school, and the opportunity to reach kids in a Spanish-speaking country was exciting for her. It’s something she plans to do again next spring. “It was cool to go down there and learn more and to be immersed in the language,” she said. “It was also cool to work with kids. That

was my favorite service work I’ve ever done.” She’s also heavily involved in the Literacy Club at Vestavia Hills High School. Each year, the club has a book drive to collect books for local kids. “We also take part each year in ‘Birmingham Reads,’” she said. “We take a day off from school and we go around to different inner city schools and read to young students. I really enjoy being involved in that.”

Ready for Season Play

Her service isn’t limited to her community. She’s also one of six seniors returning this year to play on the volleyball team, which just returned from a retreat in Florida. They made their goals clear, and they’re eager to top last season’s

Vestavia Hills’ Maggie Gann is shown in action last year. The Rebels open the 2018 season at Hoover on Aug. 23.

super regional run. “We all came up with a word that we want to represent this season, and the word that we came up with was ‘sacrifice,’” she said. “We decided that if we hope to really make a difference from years’ past, we all need to be willing to sacrifice our time, our bodies and our attitude to get what we want. Our goal is to make it to state. We haven’t made it to state in a couple of years, and that’s our goal for this season. We want to get past super regionals and make it to state.” She won’t have to spend her senior season sweating where she’ll go to college; Vines has already signed to join Samford University’s squad in the fall of 2019. It’s a deci-

sion that worked for her on a lot of levels, since it will allow her to stay near the church congregation with which she has grown to be so heavily involved. Samford’s coaching staff is supportive of her educational path even though it will be time-consuming. “I was very interested in going into pharmacy school,” she said. “Other schools really didn’t like that. The schedule was ‘too hard to work around.’ Samford was really flexible with that. And they offer so many other courses that are faithbased and allow me to continue to do mission work. Samford was the perfect fit.” Vestavia Hills opens its 2018 season at Hoover on Aug. 23.

Joy League Announces Division Champs

1A BUCS Front row, from left: Mary Linden Hagemann, Caleb Aycock and Ben Wessel. Middle: Connor McMicken, Peter Ludwick, Norris Hasenfuss and Bo Graves Back: Coaches Brandon Hasenfuss, Joel Aycock and Ree Hagemann.

awarded championship trophies to the three teams. Joy League was established in 1958 by the late John J. Smith Sr. with the idea that all children should be allowed to play sports. The players, boys and girls ages 4 to 12, do not have tryouts, and each player plays in every game. The league games are played Saturday mornings on the two diamonds at Edgewood Elementary School. This year, 184 boys and girls played in league games. Registration for the 2019 season will be at Edgewood school each Saturday in February. 2A SOX Front row, from left: Emma Gilpin, Anika Belcher, Jonathan Heard, Christian Pollard, Aidan Pudner. Middle: Djavier El, Tyrell Thomas, Aubrey Coker III, Dekhati El, Ayden Thomas, Noah Triggs and Reid Sim. Back: Coach Bert Thomas and Darwin Lu. Not Pictured: Nathaniel Pardo and George Wessel; and coaches Stephen Pudner, Nicole Thomas, Dewey Belcher and Emily Belcher.

Photos courttesy Joy League

The Joy League in Homewood recently completed its 61st consecutive season of daytime baseball by crowning the three teams that won their division this year. The 2018 champions in their divisions were: A — The Bucs, coached by Joel Aycock, Ree Hageman and Brandon Hasenfuss. AA — The Sox, coached by Bertram Thomas, Dewery Belcher and Emily Belcher. AAA — The Yanks, coached be Tim Meehan, Stephen McGhee and Mike Light League Commissioners Perry Akins and Ted Hagler

3A YANKS Front row, from left: Emily Owen, Marleigh Belcher, Xavier Little and Camden Cox. Second: Mushaba Zulu, Hannah Greene, Ledgend Armstrong and Kaleb Brown. Third: Ava Traylor, Robert Tucker, Lauren Frazier and Colton Cox. Back: Coaches John David Owen, Stephen McGhee, Tim Meehan, Robert Tucker and Bill Traylor. Not Pictured: Phoenix Goldberg.

HOMEWOOD From page 28

eliminated by Oxford and finished with a 19-22 record. She is looking for bigger things in 2018, but she’s leaving it to her players to determine what their expectations are. “Last year I just spit them out, but this year we wanted it to be more of a player-led deal,” Revis said. “We’re concerned about them being the best they can be and believing in themselves. “We do want to advance out of area and make it back to regional. We were not happy with our performance in the regional last year.” Loo said she and her teammates are setting the bar high. “I expect a lot for us,” Loo said. “Last year, we saw how three freshmen came in and played, and this year we have three more really good freshmen. We’re counting on them to make us better. “Our team chemistry is great, especially how we look to each other and encourage each other. I think we can go far this season. Our goal is to get to regional and then go to state.”

Starting With a Bigger Team

The Patriots have more players on its roster this season. “We’ve got 13 kiddies,” Revis said. “That’s a big varsity for us because we usually like to keep our numbers low to increase playing time.” Homewood graduated three seniors, but three seniors returned this season – Loo, Carolyn Bodkin and Christina Wright. Homewood also has three juniors – Luz Rosales Perez, Gretchen Kellen and Kassidy Schnoer, a 6-foot, 1-inch outside hitter.

Journal file photo by Mark Almond

Junior libero Amelia Auchmuty is expected to anchor the Bucs’ defense.

Thursday, August 9, 2018 • 27

SPORTS “She plays basketball as well and she’s tall, but we call her our gentle giant because she has the sweetest heart,” Revis said. Four sophomores are also on the team – setter Abby Wilson, libero Emma Johnson, outside hitter Alex Hershbine and Jane Wilson. Hershbine and Jane Wilson are moving up from the junior varsity. “Alex can play all the way round, and she has a killer serve,” Revis said. “Jane is a passer. She’s the twin sister of Abby Wilson, who was on the team last year as a freshman.” Freshmen Haley Callaham, a setter, MacKenzie Yoakum and Olivia Brown round out the roster. Brown transferred from Advent Episcopal School. “She has the highest vertical (jump) on the team,” Revis said. Homewood will compete in Class 6A, Area 10 along with Shades Valley and Huffman. “Shades Valley was in our area last year,” Revis said. “They’re a deceivingly strong team. Their coach does a great job and they have a lefty with a great serve. We can’t sleep on them. We have to be prepared when we play them. Huffman is always athletic, so we’ll have to be conditioned when we play them.” The Patriots open their season Aug. 28 at Vestavia Hills. “I am super excited,” Revis said. “All the coaches (including assistants Cynthia Padgett and Katelyn Collins) have been in their position for a year, and they know our system, and they know our players. The coaches and players all know what makes us tick. “We’ve been harping on consistency and confidence. We have to keep working and stay involved. I don’t think there’s any doubt we have the skill set. We all know we have to be consistent and maintain ball control.”

Homewood senior middle hitter Alejandra Loo.

HOOVER From page 28

Camper expects Hoven to miss most of the season because of a knee injury. “The doctor said she may be able to return by October,” Camper said. “That’s a big blow because she is one our best defensive specialists and one of our best passers.” Heading the Bucs’ strong group of young players are 6-foot-3-inch sophomore Gabrielle Essix and 5-foot-9-inch freshman Rya McKinnon. McKinnon’s dad, Ronald McKinnon, played in the NFL and is an assistant football coach at Miles College. “We’re expecting big things from Gabby,” Camper said. “She’s incredibly athletic. “Rya started as an eighth-grader last year at middle hitter, but we’re moving her outside. She’ll be our main outside hitter. I’m excited

about watching her grow as a player and person.” Two more sophomores expected to be big contributors are 6-foot-1inch middle hitter Melodie Jones and setter Aly Durban. Jones is the younger sister of former Hoover star Maya Jones, and Durban’s mother, Michelle Durban, is the former Samford volleyball coach. Junior libero Amelia Auchmuty is expected to anchor the Bucs’ defense.

Competitive Class

Hoover will compete in a revamped Class 7A, Area 5 this season along with Oak Mountain, Thompson and Tuscaloosa County. Oak Mountain replaces Hoover archrival Vestavia Hills, which has moved to Area 6. Even without the Rebels, Camper expects Area 5 to be highly competitive. “Oak Mountain lost a lot of seniors, but they will still be good,” Camper said. “Thompson will be

very good, probably in the top 5 teams in 7A. They are very athletic, and coach Judy Green does a good job.” Hoover opens its season Aug. 23 at home against Vestavia Hills. The Bucs will visit cross-town rival Spain Park on Aug. 28. Camper isn’t making any predictions about how far the Bucs will go this season. He’s more concerned with how his team plays game in and game out. “The biggest thing for us is to always maximize what we do,” Camper said. “We want to be the best we can be. We’ve got some tremendous talent and some great young players. We want to go out and play our very best. At the end of the season, if we are playing our best, the results will take care of themselves.” Look for volleyball previews of Briarwood, John Carroll, Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain, and Spain Park in our next issue.

Journal file photo by Mark Almond


Vestavia volleyball star dedicated to service off the court, sacrifice on it. Page 27


Don’t Miss Our 2018 Over the Mountain High School Football Preview OTMJ AUGUST 23

Thursday, August 9, 2018 ❖ OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL


By Rubin E. Grant Chris Camper teaches social studies, but he knows a thing or two about chemistry, especially as it relates to team sports. As he embarks on his seventh season as Hoover’s volleyball coach, Camper believes he has the right blend of youth and experience to make the Bucs a Class 7A contender this season. “We’re excited,” Camper said. “We’ve got great senior leadership and some talented young players. And our chemistry is some of the best we’ve ever had, if not the best.” That’s saying something since the Bucs reached the Elite Eight the past four years and advanced to the finals twice with a core Hoover senior Brooke Hoven.

group of players that included outside hitter Paige Shaw, setter Jamie Gregg and libero Savannah Gibbs. Those three, who were all named to the 2017 All Over the Mountain Journal Team, graduated along with Brayden Williams and Anna Marie Auchmuty after leading Hoover to a 31-10 season this past fall. The Bucs will have five seniors on the team this season, including three who saw considerable time on the court last year — setter Amiyah King, right-side hitter Caroline Raybon and outside hitter-defensive specialist MacKenzie Martin. The other two seniors are middle hitter Bayley Thornton and defensive specialist Brooke Hoven. See HOOVER, page 27

Journal file photo by Mark Almond

Bucs Expect Team Chemistry, Young Talent to Spark Volleyball Team

In her first season at the helm, Krimson Revis, above, guided the Patriots to a berth in the 2017 North Super Regional before the team was eliminated by Oxford.

Revis, Patriots Sound Optimistic Chord About Volleyball Season

By Rubin E. Grant

Journal file photo by Mark Almond

Homewood volleyball players aren’t exactly sure how to address their second-year head coach. That’s because Krimson White married fellow Homewood alum Hunter Revis in January and took his last name. “We’re used to calling her coach K,” said senior middle hitter Alejandra Loo. “That’s what we called her when she started working with the staff as an assistant my freshman year. Then she got married in January and changed her name to Revis. I think we’ll call her coach Revis, but it’s still hard to not call her coach K.” Coach K, er, Revis laughs about her players’ quandary. “Some of them still call me coach White or coach K,” she said laughingly. “You can call me coach Revis, but any of those is fine with me.” Revis, a former Homewood player, also is

fine with the direction the Patriots’ volleyball program is headed. After serving as an assistant under longtime Homewood coach Carol Chestnutt, Revis was elevated to head coach

‘Our team chemistry is great, especially how we look to each other and encourage each other. I think we can go far this season.’ ALEJANDRA LOO

after Chesnutt retired at the conclusion of the 2016 season. In her first season at the helm, Revis guided the Patriots to a berth in the 2017 North Super Regional before the team was

See HOMEWOOD, page 27

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