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2013 Holiday Cards Issue


Merry Christmas!

2 • Thursday, December 12, 2013


OTM Holiday Art Tradition

For more than 20 years, we’ve enjoyed sharing the art of the talented Over the Mountain students in our annual Holiday Cards issue. All of the schools in our area were invited to participate this year and the schools that did are represented on our coverr and the 13 pages of holiday art that begins on page 32.

2013 Holiday Cards issue


Merry Christmas!

cover artists first row, from left: Madeline McAlister, Advent Episcopal, 3rd; Preston Graves, Edgewood, 3rd; Emma Johnson, Shades Cahaba, 5th; Emma Hawkins, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd; Maimie Livingston, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th. Second row: Ryan Fitzmorris, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd; Reese Thompson, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 2nd; Sami Rowaid, Shades Mountain Elementary, 1st. third row: Mason Mathias, Briarwood Christian, 5th; Emily Key, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 4th; Bryce Rigdon, Gwin, 1st; Evan Nelson, Spring Valley School, E. Core; Sarah Pasche, Highlands School, 5th. fourth row: Remy Jane Richards, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, kindergarten; Katelyn Walsh, Rocky Ridge, 5th; Mary Neale, Mountain Brook Elementary, 2nd; Joanna Linder, Westminster School, 4th; Maggie Banks, Our Lady of Sorrows, 4th; Wyatt Brooks, Crestline, 4th. fifth row: Sophie McLemore, Green Valley Elementary, 5th; Austin Suber, Greystone Elementary, 4th; Caitlin Harrell, Shades Mountain Christian, 5th; Reid Rockett, South Shades Crest Elementary, kindergarten; Julie Dixon, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 5th. sixth row: Lillian McClure, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 5th; Jewel Yelverton, The Altamont School, 5th; Annelise Sutherland, Prince of Peace Catholic, 5th; Vaughn Frost, Brookwood Forest, 3rd.

Correction: Due to incomplete information provided to the Journal, Rebecca Hamiter’s name was omitted from a Nov. 14 article about the Ballet Women’s Committee Fall Extravaganza. Hamiter was fashion show coordinator. The Journal is happy to set the record straight.

in this issue

year in review P. 16 • holiday inspired cooking p. 18 Heritage ball highlights p. 22 First things first for Katherine Mctyeire p. 30 About Town 4 People 12 news 16 life 18

social 22 weddings 29 Business 30 Sports 52



Vol. 23, No. 24

murphy’s law

All I Want for Christmas


told my daughters that I didn’t And, doggone it, I want sanity. No want anything for Christmas. more maniacs with assault rifles. I don’t Okay, a cardigan sweater, I want to have to worry about sending relented, but that’s what I always my new little one off to the mall or the say, and only because they now movie theater or first grade, for heaven know to preface their what-do-yousakes. want-for-Christmas query with, Sanity at home, sanity in the work“And don’t say colored markers place. No more hedge funds. No more and chocolate” because that was filibusters. No more infighting or chestmy old standby.  beating. No more us versus them. I I like colored markers. Thin, fat, want every bit of it.  swirly--they’re a bucket of fun. They And kindness. Yep, I’d like that, too. make even a to-do list look like a party. Kindness and generosity. An overall And I don’t have to tell you my posiblanket of respect. My list keeps growtion on all manner of chocolate…it’s ing, but hey, somebody asked. BUY! I want joy this Christmas season, Sue Murphy Looking back, though, I think I deep, unmitigated joy. asked for chocolate and markers I want mercy. I want love.  Maybe part of what because then, as now, I felt I had Maybe part of what keeps our everything that I needed. Really, world so wobbly is that we’ve keeps our world so even with the occasional setback, stopped asking for those big, imporwobbly is that we’ve tant things. We’ve stopped believing I considered myself blessed to the nines. Roof over my head, food on they are even possible. We’re asking stopped asking for the table, good funny people to talk for chocolate and markers instead. those big, important to. What else could I possibly want? Not me. Not this year. As long as But I have to tell you, this year, somebody’s asking, I want it all. things. We’ve stopped as I was holding my new grandNot just for myself, of course, daughter, I realized that I was wrong. believing they are even or even for my grandchildren. I I don’t have everything I want, and want all of those things for your possible. certainly not everything I want for grandchildren and their grandchilher. When I looked into that sweet dren. And miracle-of-miracles, as I little face, not yet focused on the understand it, that’s the way love and wobbly world around her, my real wish list came tumjoy and peace and kindness work. Everybody on board. bling out. Everybody all together. One unselfish act set on top of I know it sounds corny, but I want peace. Everybody another for the benefit of all. It’s possible. It is. You just says that. It’s written in gold letters on holiday cards and have to keep lobbing the good things out there, even giftwrap and candle holders and those splashy tie-dyed when it seems like you’re pitching into the darkness. T-shirts at the mall. What would Christmas be without it?  But, I’m not talking about a passing “Peace be with I’ll enjoy my cardigan. I will. It will be soft and you” kind of thing. I want the real deal. I want all this warm, and I’ll pull it around my shoulders against the ridiculous fighting and squabbling to end. No more war. cold, but Christmas morning I’ll be looking at my grandNo more armed conflict or militarized peace-keeping or daughter’s beautiful face and thinking about my real list, anything else that would ask a mother to send her child and another mother who cradled a baby many, many to some far-flung battlefield. years ago, and wanted the very same things for him. ❖

over the Mountain Views

What’s your favorite holiday song?

December 12, 2013

Publisher: Maury Wald Editor: Keysha Drexel Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Office Manager: Christy Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Lee Davis Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, William C. Singleton III, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls Jr., Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Suzanne Wald, Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald Interns: Taylor Burgess, Ginny Cooper Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at E-mail our advertising department at Find us on the Web at Copyright 2013 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.


“’The Holly and the Ivy’ was my husband’s favorite Christmas song when we got married and over the years, it has become mine as well.” Marla Ferguson Inverness

“I love ‘Silent Night.’ Singing it on Christmas Eve is my favorite tradition.” Elizabeth Cooper Meadow Brook

“I love the songs in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’ I know all the words.” April Kirby Hoover

“Judy loves Manheim Steamroller’s version of ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ but my favorite is ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ They both have really good messages.” Judy and Velton Bernard Inverness

Happy holidays from the Over the Mountain Journal. After our annual break, we’ll return with our first issue of the new year on Jan. 9.


About Town

the traveller,s choice.

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 3

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4 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

About Town


Parade Gets a Rain Check Mountain Brook Reschedules Annual Holiday Event

Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce officials made the right call when they rescheduled the annual holiday parade last Sunday to this weekend. The parade was originially planned for Dec. 8 when the OTM area was hit with heavy rains. The parade will start at 3 p.m. on Dec. 15. “We have all of these floats that people have worked really hard to put together for the parade, and we have a lot of antique vehicles and convertibles scheduled to be in the parade, and we just didn’t want to risk it in the rain,” Davison said. Davison said at press time that the forecast for Dec. 15 looks more promising for the annual parade in Mountain Brook. “Right now, it’s calling for abundant sunshine on the 15th, so we like that forecast,” she said. The Grand Marshal of this year’s parade will be Slade Anderson, a firstgrade student at Crestline Elementary School. Last November just before Thanksgiving, Anderson was diagnosed with leukemia.

Slade Anderson is congratulated on being named the Grand Marshal of the Mountain Brook Holiday Parade by his mother, Emily Anderson. The parade has been rescheduled for Dec. 15. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Anderson said he was excited about riding in a cool car in the parade on Dec. 15. “I want my friends to ride with me, too,” he said. Anderson’s mother, Emily, said the family felt honored to have Slade named the parade’s Grand Marshal. “This community is really amazing,” she said. “The way everyone has responded and supported us, it really makes us thankful to live in Mountain Brook.” Paul Allen, one of the parade organizers, said he is still nailing down which parade participants will be able to reschedule and make it to the Dec. 15 event. Allen said the parade will feature about 10 decorated floats. Miss Alabama Chandler Champion will also make an appearance at the event. Allen said he expects between 2,500-3,500 spectators to come out to watch this year’s parade. “It grows every year, and I think this year will be even better,” he said. For more information, visit ❖

Save the Date Birmingham

Holiday Music Concert Dec. 12-13, 7:30 p.m. Jemison Day Theater Get in the spirit of the season at this family-friendly concert at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater Dec. 12-13. The Holiday Music Concert will feature the Alabama School of Fine Arts orchestra, jazz ensemble, choir and Concerto delle Donne. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Show times are 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 13. The Alabama School of Fine Arts is at 1800 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. in Birmingham. For more information, call 490-2345. Birmingham

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” Dec. 12-21 Fifth Avenue Antiques-Theatre Downtown Theatre Downtown will present “The Eight: Reindeer Monologues” at Fifth Avenue Antiques-Theatre Downtown Dec. 12-21. The dark comedy explores what it must be like to be one of Santa’s reindeer and is intended for mature audiences only. Tickets are $13 for students and $17 for adults. There is a group discount for 10 or more. Show times are at 8 p.m. Dec. 12-14 and 19-21 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15. For more information, call 565-8838. Vestavia Hills

StepStone Christmas Program Dec. 12-15 Alabama Veterans Memorial Park Alabama Veterans Memorial Park is giving people a chance to purchase a special Christmas present for veterans. Through Dec. 15, StepStones honoring veterans can be purchased and will include a certificate to wrap and give to the veteran honored.

The StepStone will be dedicated at the park’s Memorial Day celebration in May. For more information, visit, email or call Louise Richardson at 912-2019. Homewood

Christmas Art Show Dec. 12-28 The Joy Gallery The Joy Gallery will host its inaugural Christmas Art Show through Dec. 28. The gallery is at Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The show will feature the works of several Birmingham area artists. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call 942-3051. Homewood

Edgewood Night Out Dec. 12, 3 p.m. Oxmoor Road Edgewood Night Out will start at 3 p.m. on Dec. 12 in Homewood. Until the close of business, patrons can eat at any business in Edgewood, and 10 percent of all sales will be donated to Edgewood Elementary School. Santa will make an appearance from 6-8 p.m. Birmingham

ZooLight Safari Dec. 13-15, 18-23 and 26-31 Birmingham Zoo The Wells Fargo ZooLight Safari returns to the Birmingham Zoo. The zoo will come alive for 18 nights with millions of lights, holiday music and festive activities. There will be rides on the Candy Cane Train, a Jingle Bell carousel and the Holiday Hayride. ZooLight Safari will be held from 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 13-15, 18-23 and 26-31. Admission is $8 for non-members and

free for zoo members. Wristbands for activities cost $9.50 plus tax. Attraction tickets are $3.50 plus tax. For more information, visit www.birminghamzoo. com. Hoover

Holiday Gift Workshop Dec. 13, 4-5 p.m. Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library will give students in grades 1-3 a chance to make holiday gifts for their friends and family members at the Holiday Gift Workshop on Dec. 13. The free event will be from 4-5 p.m. The library is at 200 Municipal Drive in Hoover. For more information, call 444-7830. Birmingham

“The Mutt-cracker” Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. BJCC The Birmingham Ballet will present the canine-filled version of a holiday classic with “The Mutt-cracker” on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. The production includes dancing found in the Birmingham Ballet’s traditional production of “The Nutcracker” along with something special brought to the stage by the dogs. The performance benefits the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Tickets, including fees, are $32.75 to $54.50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster and the BJCC Central Ticket Office. The ticket office is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www. Birmingham

Santa’s Workshop Dec. 14 YWCA The YWCA will host its annual


About Town

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 5

OverTheMountainJournal_BAM12117_Clifton10055.indd 1

12/5/13 1:17 PM

6 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

About Town


now dasher! now dancer!


Guests can take a sleigh ride or try the ice slide at the McWane Science Center’s Winter Wonderland exhibit through Jan. 5. Photo special to the Journal

Winter Wonderland Dec. 12-Jan. 5 McWane Science Center Winter Wonderland is now open at McWane Science Center in Birmingham. The whole family can enjoy the exhibit through Jan. 5. Children can coast down the ice slide or take a ride across the room on the extended zip line. Guests can climb aboard the McWane Train or try their luck at ice fishing. For admission prices and more information, visit

Santa’s Workshop on Dec. 14. The event brings the magic of the holidays to homeless families by offering parents the opportunity to “shop” for free gifts for their children while children create festive holiday crafts for their loved ones. For more information, visit www. Birmingham


Jingle Bell Run/Walk Dec. 14, 8 a.m. Railroad Park The 25th annual Birmingham Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, presented by the Arthritis Foundation and Red Kitty and Judi Diamond, will be Dec. 14 at Railroad Park. Activities begin at 8 a.m. The Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 5K race begins at 9 a.m. There will 205-824-1246, fax also be a one-mile fun run for all ages Dec.. 2013 and a Santa Chase Race for ages 8 and younger.for Participants are invited This is your aD prOOF from the Over The MOunTain JOurnal the to wear holiday-themed costumes or Find a truly unique gift year. or changes to 824-1246. Dec. 12, 2013 issue. please faxthis approval to tie jingle bells to their shoelaces as Buy direct from the region’s they help raise money to fight arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. best artists! Race fees are $40 for the chip-timed 5K and $35 with no chip timing. The fee for the fun run is $35, and the fee please initial and fax back or email confirmation within 24Santa hours. for the Chase is $25. Fees for if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press the 5Kdate, will increase by $5 after Dec. 7. your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Free parking is available along the outer perimeters of Railroad Park along First Thank you for your prompt attention. Avenue South on race day. There will be an after party at Good People Brewing Company from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit

To: From: Date:


please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number!

DEC 5 ‑19

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Lower Level, inside proceeds to benefit:

opening and closing receptions catered by:

Blue Light Special Art Show Dec. 14-15 Earthborn Studios The 25th annual Blue Light Special Art Show will be Dec. 14 and 15 at Cahaba ClayWorks and Earthborn Studios in Leeds. For a $25 donation, those attending will get hot soup and bread served in bowls handmade by Homewood native Tena Payne, the artist behind Earthborn Studios. Guests get to keep the Earthborn bowls as a reminder of all the empty bowls around the world. The two-day event kicks off at 9 a.m. on Dec. 14. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14-15. There is a $2 entry fee for the event. Proceeds go to First Light

Shelter. For more information, visit www. Birmingham

Share the Love Pet Adoption Dec. 14, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Jim Burke Subaru Shelby Humane Society is partnering with Jim Burke Subaru for the Share the Love Pet Adoption event on Dec. 14 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the car dealership. There will be the opportunity to adopt pets and donate supplies for the shelter’s holiday wish list. Those making donations can have their photos taken with Santa. All pets at the event will be spayed/neutered and available for same-day adoptions to approved adopters. Jim Burke Subaru will host the donation drive through Jan. 2. The most needed items are dry dog food and canned food for dogs and cats. For more information on the adoption event or donation drive, visit www. or subaru. Birmingham

Birmingham Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Dec. 14-15 BJCC The Birmingham Ballet will present its innovative version of “The Nutcracker” at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex Dec. 14-15. The classic brings the holiday season to life with storytelling, dancing, aerial ballet, whimsical characters and magical surprises that will delight all ages. Tickets, including fees, range from $32.75 to $54.50. Show times are at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 and at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. For more information, call 800-745-3000. North Shelby

Holiday 5K and Kids Fun Run Dec. 14, 8 a.m. Heardmont Park The Legacy for Good Foundation will hold its Holiday 5K and Kids Fun Run on Dec. 14 at Heardmont Park. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. at the park, 5452 Cahaba Valley Road. This is a free event. To sign up, visit Vestavia Hills

Run for the Hills Dec. 14, 7:30 a.m. Liberty Park Middle School The Vestavia Hills Sunrise Rotary Club will present the sixth annual Run for the Hills at Liberty Park Middle School on Dec. 15. Races include a 5K, 10K and one-mile fun run through Liberty Park in Vestavia Hills. The proceeds of this year’s race will benefit the Vestavia Hills High School Marching Band and We The People, a Vestavia Hills High School club designed to educate students about the U.S. Constitution. Prizes will be awarded in more than 13 different age groups. Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m. and the 10K and 5K races start at 7:30 a.m. The fun run will begin at 8:30 a.m. The races start at Liberty Park Middle School, 17035 Liberty Parkway, near the Vestavia recreational softball fields parking lot. Registration fees are $25 for the 5K and 10K and $15 for the fun run. To register online, volunteer or to get a course map, visit vestaviasunriserotary. com. North Shelby

Decked Out Dash Dec. 14, 8 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park The Arc of Jefferson County will hold its annual Decked Out Dash on Dec. 14 at Oak Mountain State Park. The 5K and one-mile fun run will start at 8 a.m.

who santa?

Volunteer coordinator David Allen, right, and helper Butch Stewart model handcrafted art that will be available at the Alabama Wildlife Center’s Holiday Craft and Bake Sale on Dec. 14. Photo special to the Journal Hoover

Holiday Craft and Bake Sale Dec. 14, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Veterans Park The Alabama Wildlife Center’s first fundraising cookbook, “Look Whooo’s Cooking,” will be on sale at the nonprofit organization’s annual Holiday Craft and Bake Sale on Dec. 14 at Veterans Park in Hoover. The event, which runs from 9 a.m-3 p.m., will feature holiday-themed crafts, ornaments, handmade jewelry, gifts with a natural theme, homemade jams, jellies, preserves, baked goods, frozen casseroles and on-site freshly smoked turkey breasts and ham that will be vacuum sealed. All proceeds benefit the Alabama Wildlife Center. Veterans Park is at 4800 Valleydale Road. For more information, visit or call 663-7930, extension 8.

About Town


On-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. Participants are asked to come decked out in holiday clothes. Pre-registration fees are $25 for the 5K and $20 for the fun run. All proceeds benefit the Arc of Jefferson County’s programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To register, visit

Liberty Park Baptist Church The Liberty Park Baptist Church Worship Choir will present Christmas in the Park at 5 p.m. on Dec. 15. The celebration of Christmas through music for the entire family will be held at the church, 12001 Liberty Parkway. For more information, call 969-1236.

theater troupe, when it presents “The Magic of Christmas” from 3-4 p.m. on Dec. 15. The collection of yuletide tales, tunes and reminiscences is for the whole family. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free. The library is at 1721 Oxmoor Road. For more information, call 332-6620.

North Shelby

North Shelby


19th Annual Meadow Brook Run Dec. 14, 9 a.m. Aliant Bank The 19th annual Meadow Brook 5K and one-mile fun run will be held on Dec. 14. Aliant Bank at 1100 Corporate Parkway will serve as the race headquarters. The 5K starts at 9 a.m., and the fun run begins at 10 a.m. Race timing will be provided by the Trak Shak. The event will also feature gift bags, prizes and food. For more information, visit Birmingham

Find the Funny Fundraiser Dec. 14, 7 p.m. Temple Beth-El Emmy Award-winning comedian Monica Piper will perform at the “Find the Funny” fundraiser at Temple Beth-El on Dec. 14. The fun kicks off at 7 p.m. with complimentary champagne and chocolates. Piper’s show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Following the show, there will be complimentary desserts, a cash bar and an auction. Tickets are $36-$72. To buy tickets, call 933-2740 or visit www. Temple Beth-El is at 2179 Highland Ave. South, Birmingham. Birmingham

Christmas in the Park Dec. 15, 5 p.m.

Christmas Concert Dec. 15, 5 p.m. Asbury United Methodist Church The children’s choirs at Asbury United Methodist Church will present a concert of Christmas music on Dec. 15. The performance begins at 5 p.m. at the church, 6690 Cahaba Valley Road. For more information, visit or call 995-1700. North Shelby

Peace on Earth Service Dec. 15, 6 p.m. Meadow Brook Baptist Church The choirs and orchestra of Meadow Brook Baptist Church will present Peace on Earth, a Christmas worship experience, on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The performance will be held in the sanctuary of the church, 4984 Meadow Brook Road. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 991-8384. Homewood

“The Magic of Christmas” Dec. 15, 3-4 p.m. Homewood Public Library The Homewood Public Library will host the Seasoned Performers, Alabama’s only professional senior

“Street Level Christmas” Dec. 15, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Briarwood Presbyterian Church Briarwood Presbyterian Church will feature Michael Card and Phil Keaggy in “Street Level Christmas” at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 15. The concert will feature the Briarwood Chancel Choir, a string quartet and Card and Keaggy’s regular concert musicians. Both men have won Dove Awards and other awards for their music. The event is free. For more information, visit Hoover

Youth Orchestra Holiday Performance Dec. 15, 2 and 4 p.m. Riverchase Galleria Food Court The Alabama Youth Symphony Orchestra will present its holiday performance on Dec. 15 in the food court of the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover. The free concert will be at 2 p.m. with a repeat performance at 4 p.m. Roderick Cox is the conductor. For more information, call 975-2787. Vestavia Hills

Jingle Jam Dec. 15, 5 p.m. Shades Mountain Baptist Shades Mountain Baptist Church will host Jingle Jam on Dec. 15. The

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 7

8 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

About Town

Power Cuffs.

break from the holiday rush for parents and children begins at 5 p.m. in the church concourse with cookies and hot chocolate. A special time of family worship in the conference center will follow at 6 p.m. For more information, visit North Shelby


Computer Animation Film Festival Dec. 16, 6 p.m. North Shelby Library The North Shelby Library will host the Computer Animation Film Festival at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16. The library will host a screening of the shorts created by participants in the Computer Animation Workshop. Those attending can vote for their favorite film to win the Audience Choice Award. Popcorn and soda will be served at this free event. For more information, visit www.northshelbylibrary. org or call 439-5512. Birmingham


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RMTC Open Call Auditions Dec. 16, 5-10 p.m. RMTC Cabaret Theatre The Red Mountain Theatre Company is holding open call auditions from 5-10 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the RMTC Cabaret Theatre, 301 19th S. North, Birmingham. This is a pre-screening audition for performers who are new to RMTC. Those auditioning should arrive at 5 p.m. with a headshot and resume, if available, to sign up for the auditions. Performers should also be prepared to sing 16-24 bars of music. An accompanist will be provided. Males ages 16 and older and females ages 14 and older will be seen for the “Into the Woods� call. No children will be seen for the “La Cage aux Folles� or “Les Miserables� calls. Full details are available at www.redmountaintheatre. org. Hoover

A Roger Day Christmas Dec. 17, 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Hoover Library Theatre Roger Day will present A Roger Day Christmas at the Hoover Library Theatre with two shows on Dec. 17. Sing along with Day to holiday tunes and then stay after the show for Season’s Eatings and Greetings with Santa. The first show begins at 10:30 a.m., and the second show starts at 6:30 p.m. The event is free, but patrons are encouraged to come early as seating is limited. For more information, call 444-7830. Homewood

Holiday Program Dec. 18, 11 a.m. The Exceptional Foundation The Exceptional Foundation will host its annual holiday program at 11 a.m. on Dec. 18. The public is invited to attend this free event at the Foundation, 1616 Oxmoor Road in Homewood. The Exceptional Foundation is a nonprofit organization for individuals with special needs. For more information, visit www. or call 8700776. Hoover

Coffee, Cocoa and Conversations Dec. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library will present Coffee, Cocoa and Conversations from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Dec. 18. The event will include light refreshments and will be the first-ever book group open house


at the library. Those attending can meet the book group leaders and pick up flyers with next year’s selections. This is a free event. For more information, visit 444-7840. Birmingham

Home for the Holidays Dec. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Brock Recital Hall Opera Birmingham will present Home for the Holidays at Brock Recital Hall at Samford University on Dec. 19. The Christmas concert continues for a seventh season from 7:30-9:30 p.m. For more information or to order tickets, call 322-6737. Homewood

Birmingham Aero Club Christmas Party Dec. 19, 6 p.m. The Club The Birmingham Aero Club will host its 2013 Christmas party on Dec. 19 at The Club in Homewood. The social hour will begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will start at 7:15 p.m. The Birmingham Aero Club was founded in 1932 and has more than 200 members. For more information, email Bill Barnes at cbarnes3432@ Vestavia Hills

Holiday Open House Dec. 20. 5-8 p.m. Drake Fitness Drake Fitness will host a Holiday Open House to benefit the Wise Up Initiative at its new location on Dec. 20. The event will be from 5-8 p.m. at 4851 Cahaba River Road, Suite 133. Local specialty vendors will be on hand selling their holiday wares. There will be a silent auction, prizes and festive food and drinks. The Wise Up Initiative is a nonprofit aimed at educating the public about concussions and the proper way to detect and treat them. To RSVP or for more information, email drakefitness@ Birmingham

ASO presents Handel’s “Messiah� Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Alys Stephens Center  The Alabama Symphony Orchestra will present Handel’s “Messiah� on Dec. 21 at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham. The performance will feature Stephen Stubbs, conductor; Valerie Vinzant, soprano; Danielle Reutter Harrah, mezzo-soprano; Zachary Wilder, tenor; Mischa Bouvier, bass, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra Chorus under the direction of Dr. Philip Copeland. This performance is the second in the threepart Classical Masters series. Tickets are $39-$79. For more information, visit or call the box office at 975-2787. Mountain Brook

MBCC Living Nativity Dec. 21-23 Mountain Brook Baptist Church Mountain Brook Baptist Church will present its Living Nativity Dec. 21-23 at 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. each night in the lower parking lot of the church. This is the 50th year the church has presented the Living Nativity. Hot chocolate, cider and cookies will be served. For more information, visit www. or call 871-0331.

Vestavia Hills

Family Lord’s Supper Dec. 22, 6 p.m. Shades Mountain Baptist Families and groups of friends are invited to observe the Lord’s Supper in small groups during an evening of worship on Dec. 22 at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills. The event will be held in the church’s conference center beginning at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.shades. org. Birmingham

Let Your Heart Dance Christmas Concert Dec. 22, 6-7 p.m. Briarwood Presbyterian Briarwood Ballet will present “Let Your Heart Dance,� a Christmas concert celebrating the ministry of its founding director, Barbara Baker, on Dec. 22. The concert will be held at Briarwood Presbyterian Church at 2200 Briarwood Way, Birmingham. The performance will be from 6-7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 776-5284 or visit Vestavia Hills

Festival of Lessons and Carols Dec. 22, 8:30-11 a.m. Southminster Presbyterian Church Southminster Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills will present the Festival of Lessons and Carols on Dec. 22. The event will feature a live concert of Christmas music. The program is from 8:30 a.m.-11 a.m. The church is at 1124 Montgomery Highway. For more information, visit www. or call 822-1124. North Shelby

From Darkness to Light Dec. 22, 7 p.m. First Christian Church A special worship service to lift up the words of comfort and message of hope in the Christmas story for those dealing with loss, tragedy, loneliness or other difficulties this holiday season will be held on Dec. 22 at First Christian Church. From Darkness to Light: A Service of Worship starts at 7 p.m. at the church, 4854 Valleydale Road. For more information, visit or call 991-5000. Mountain Brook

Christmas Eve Eve Dec. 23, 6-7 p.m. Canterbury UMC Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook will hold a community-wide music event in Canterbury Center on Dec. 23. The Christmas Eve Eve Best Loved Music of the Season for the Community event will be from 6-7 p.m. at 350 Overbrook Road. The public is invited for music, coffee, hot chocolate and a warm break from the last-minute holiday rush. Performers will include Patti Williams, Lester Seigel, Kristi Tingle Higginbotham and more. For more information, visit or call 8714695. Birmingham

Zoo Winter Camps Dec. 23, 27 and 30-31 Birmingham Zoo The Birmingham Zoo will host winter camps on Dec. 23, 27 and 30-31 for students who are out of school for the

ready set resolution Maureen Duke participated in last year’s Resolution Run at Red Mountain Park. This year’s event will be on Dec. 28. Photo special to the Journal


Resolution Run Dec. 28, 8 a.m. Red Mountain Park Resolve to run or walk on Dec. 28 in the third annual Resolution Run at Red Mountain Park. The race starts at 8 a.m. with presenting partners Birmingham Track Club, the Trak Shak and the Friends of Red Mountain Park. The event will also include door prizes and post-run food. Registration is $15 or $20 on the day of the race. All proceeds will benefit future development at the park. For more information or to register online, visit www. winter break. Campers can explore the zoo’s diverse habitats during these winter-only camps. Those attending will get up-close animal encounters, make crafts and take guided tours to learn about animal behaviors and characteristics. For more information, visit Homewood

Last-minute Christmas Crafts Dec. 23, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Homewood Public Library Those who still have to check items off their holiday gift lists can get some help at the Homewood Public Library on Dec. 23. The library will host the Last-

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 9

About Town


minute Christmas Crafts program from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event is free. For more information, call 332-6619. Birmingham

Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Services Dec. 24, 5 and 11 p.m. Briarwood Worship Center Briarwood Presbyterian will hold the Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service at 5 p.m. in the Worship Center. A Communion Candlelight service will be held in the Worship Center at 11 p.m. Briarwood is at the Acton Road exit on Interstate 459 up the hill adjacent to Children’s of Alabama.

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Candlelight Service Dec. 24, 5 p.m. Shades Mountain Baptist Candlelight will fill the Worship Center at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills for the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Dec. 24. The church is at 2017 Columbiana Road. For more information, visit www.


ASO Viennese Celebration Dec. 31, 6 p.m. Alabama Theatre The Alabama Symphony Orchestra will present a Viennese Celebration on New Year’s Eve at the Alabama Theatre. In the orchestra’s annual nod to the grand tradition of New Year’s in the Old World, the concert will start at 6 p.m. Those attending can ring in

the new year with waltzes, operatic selections and a glass of bubbly. The performance will feature conductor Christopher Confessore, soprano Amy Maples and violinist Daniel Szasz. Tickets are $34-$74. Alabama Theatre is at 1817 Third Ave. North, Birmingham. Visit ❖

Send About Town info to:

10 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

About Town


The Merchants of Vestavia Hills have wonderful, unique gifts to help you finish checking off your list! A Little Something AAA Travel AC Financial Partners Alfano Computer Solutions Alliance Publishing Group Annabelle’s/Vestavia Hills Apothecary ARC Realty Artists Incorporated Best Nails Birmingham School of Music The Blue Willow The Bridge Bruster's Real Ice Cream Cahaba Fitness Cameras Brookwood Chickadee Collage Designer Consignment Contri Bros. Gift Basket Crabtree Computer/Sunshine Internet Marketing Cross Construction Fancy Goods Variety First Partners Bank Focus MD, Birmingham Golden Living-Riverchase The Heavenly Donut Company Hilton Garden Inn-Liberty Park Houliang Massage In the Zone Publications Interiors and Antiques Market Jewels by Rose The Jimmie Hale Mission

Kidz Closet Klingler’s European Bakery & Café La Catrina Mexican Cantina Mary Kay Cosmetics-Susie Serio Mason Music Mia Moda MiBella Wellness Center Milestones Behavior Consulting Monograms Plus The New York Butcher Shoppe Newk's Eatery-Vestavia Hills Old Oak Advisors Primrose School at Liberty Park Promotional Creations RealtySouth-Liz Phillips Guest Renasant Bank Mortgage Lending Sarver Orthodontics Seniors Helping Seniors Siham’s Grill and Sweets Standard Heating & Air Conditioning Co. State Farm Insurance-John Henley Agency St. Vincent’s Health System Subway-Liberty Park Tucker Family Dentistry Tutoring Club TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Vestavia Bowl Vestavia Hills Parks & Recreation Foundation Webster Electric The Wine Cellar

About Town

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 11

Holiday in the Hills



he City of VestaVia hills and the VestaVia hills Chamber of CommerCe presented the Third Annual Holiday in the Hills Festival, with several events that took place in November and December celebrating the holiday season as a community and encouraging shoppers to support local businesses. The Tree Lighting Festival was held on December 3, at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center.

Families enjoyed performances by the Vestavia Hills Elementary East Choir, the Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park Singers, the Pizitz Middle School Girls’ Choir and the Vestavia Hills the City High School Rockettes. Children Christmas were excited to visit with Santa. tree Participating Merchants were showcased in a business expo. The evening ended with the lighting of the City’s Christmas Tree. Other events scheduled included Breakfast with Santa on December 7 at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center and the Vestavia Hills Christmas Parade on December 8 in Liberty Park.

CJ hill shares his wish list with santa, with sister Jada hill

sara and helen Johnston visit with santa Claus.

deanna bell directs the Vestavia hills elementary east Choir

Paige Gilliland, bailee Grissom and Gracie Jackson of Newk’s eatery share samples with guests.

sharon august directs the Vestavia hills liberty Park elementary singers

12 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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Nutcracker Suite Sixth-grader has Christmas-themed Collection By Taylor Burgess Journal intern

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Copeland Johnson may be only 11 years old, but the Oak Mountain Middle School sixth-grader has amassed a holiday collection that much older hobbyists would be enviCopeland Johnson of Hoover has more than 500 nutcrackers in his collection. ous to own. Journal photo by Taylor Burgess Johnson, who lives in Hoover, has been collecting nutcrackers all his life Bryant said, “though I think that I and in a place where they’re strikingly and now has more than 500. the rest of the family who give him different from the decor.” “I’m not sure if there’s anyone nutcrackers as gifts have been fueled Though Johnson and his mom who has more nutcrackers than me,” by his enthusiasm.” don’t put the entire collection on Johnson said. “There might be, but During the holiday season, display every year, much of it is carenot that I know of.” Johnson shares that enthusiasm with fully arranged throughout the dining Johnson’s collection, which the community by displaying the nutroom, sitting room and foyer of their includes nutcrackers in all sizes and crackers in his home for anyone who home this year. shapes, started with a gift from his wishes to see them. Those who visit and see the dismother. “For him, when we get them out, play are often impressed by the size “My mom thought that it would be it’s like a family reunion.” Bryant of Johnson’s collection, he said. great for every little boy to have some said. “He’ll remember certain ones “I have one friend who came one hobby, so she started me off as a baby that he likes.” year,” Johnson said. “He said it blew with my first nutcracker,” Johnson Bryant said she helps Johnson his nutcracker collection out of the organize his annual showcase. said. “Then the collection grew on water.” “Because they have to be disfrom there.” However, curious friends and Kem Marks Bryant said that while played at our house during the holifamily are not Johnson’s only visiTo: Atalie days, I supervise the parameters of she got her son’s collection started, it tors. Fellow collectors have come to Over The Mountain Journal,Bryant PHONE: the display,” said. 205-823-9646 “I make was his loveFrom: of collecting that spurred admire his display.  FAX: 205-824-1246 sure they’re not in a place where it forward. “My friend had her aunt come they’re easily knocked over and not Date: “I certainly got himNov. started,” because she happens to be a nutcracker collector, too,” Johnson said. “She This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for the came from a long way to see it.” Nov. 14, 2013 otmj issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. Gathering a collection of such singular nutcrackers requires Johnson Please make sure all information and is Bryant correct, to constantly watch for opportunities, Bryant said. including address and phone number! “We look everywhere,” Bryant

said. “That’s what makes the collection unique.” Once Johnson has added nutcrackers to the collection, maintaining their appearance still requires attention to detail, Bryant said. “We have a kind of hospital of nutcracker parts,” Bryant said. “Sometimes we can reconnect them, sometimes we can’t, though most of the time Copeland can tell which foot or shoe goes with which nutcracker.” Johnson is also aware of the collection’s monetary value, though his attachment remains strictly personal. “I don’t really think about (the monetary value) as much,” Johnson said. “But it does have sentimental value to me.” In the future, Johnson hopes to pass this value on to another generation or even extend it to the world. “If my kids aren’t interested in the collection, then I will put it in the Smithsonian,” Johnson said. Bryant supports Johnson’s plan for the collection’s future home.  “They’re his,” she said. “He has mentioned to me the idea of donating them to the Smithsonian. To me, that was a learning experience about how sometimes being an adult can be so limiting.” Bryant believes Johnson’s young age allows him to see possibilities that she cannot.  “As an adult, sometimes you don’t think that large. He has the beautiful naiveté to think of donating something valuable to the Smithsonian at such a young age,” she said. Johnson crosses the room to a pair of musical nutcracker and turns them on. He recalls listening to them when he was younger.  “If the Smithsonian chooses to accept them, I certainly would be the proud mother,” Bryant said. “I would say, ‘You know what? Those are my son’s nutcrackers at the Smithsonian.’” ❖

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

Happy Holidays Dad!

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Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 13



grades. Mayhew, Ardovino and Garrett also read each book and wrote summaries to get the students interested in reading them.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 116 have earned the Girl Scout Silver Award. From left: Madison Thomas, Berry Middle School Principal Chris Robbins and Regan Gates. Photo special to the Journal

Troop 116 Scouts Earn Silver Award for Project

Two members of Girl Scout Troop 116 were recently awarded the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. Regan Gates and Madison Thomas received the Girl Scout Silver Award for their project, “Jag Walk.” Both are ninth-graders at Spain Park High School in Hoover. The girls helped to create a walking path around Berry Middle School so that people can exercise and avoid obesity. They made a PowerPoint presentation, created a brochure, painted the path, spoke to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and told people about the new walking path at Berry Middle School’s registration days. The girls said completing the project taught them public speaking and leadership skills. Gates and Thomas said they hope people will use the walking path to become healthier and happier.

Vestavia Resident Wins Courage to Care Award

Troop 128 Members Earn Girl Scout Bronze Award

Three members of Girl Scout Troop 128 were recently awarded the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn. Sophie Mayhew, Natalie Ardovino and Madison Garrett won the Girl Scout Bronze Award for their project, “Get to Know a Book.” All three are students at Berry Middle School in Hoover. The girls worked with their reading coach to decide how to help students at their school become better readers. They made a graph of showing the parts of a book, and students will add their own examples to the graph throughout the school year. The girls also made a timeline with Caldecott Award-winning books for students in kindergarten, first and second grades and a timeline for Newberry Award-winning books for students in the third, fourth and fifth



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A Vestavia Hills resident was among 17 alumni by To: honored Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett From: Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646, fax 205-824-1246 School of Nursing recently. Date: May Molly Shaw received the Courage This is your aD prOOF from the Over The MOunTain JOurnal for the May 16 1013 issue. to Care Award at the annual Courage please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. to Care Awards Gala on Oct. 11. Courage to please make sure all information is correct, including address Care honorees and phone number! were cited for their adherence please initial and fax back within 24 hours. to the maxims if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper of the school’s Monday. namesake, Thank you for your prompt attention. the late Ida V. Moffett. “In Alabama, Ida V. Moffett is Molly Shaw synonymous with service and compassionate nursing care,” said nursing school dean Nena F. Sanders in reference to the late nursing educator’s often-quoted belief that “It takes courage to care, to open the heart and act with sympathy and compassion.” This year’s honorees, representing different career paths in nursing, were selected from a record number 2713 19th Street South • Homewood Hours: 10:00 - 5:00 • Mon. - Sat. of nominations, Sanders said. All 205-870-1236 UPS/Gift Wrap are graduates of the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing or its forerunner, Birmingham Baptist Hospital.


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Members of Girl Scout Troop 30067 recently earned the Silver Award. From left: Rileigh Kurre, Hannah Bogard, Mimi Bogard, Jennifer Ray, Anna Ray, Hannah White and Anne Kearney Patton.

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Troop 30067 Members Earn Silver Award Several members of Girl Scout Troop 30067 were recently honored with the Silver Award. Eighth-graders Hannah Bogard, Rileigh Kurre, Anne Kearney Patton, Anna Ray, Hannah White, Reyna Harris and DeKiyah Brooke won the award for their projects at Aldridge Gardens. Bogard, Kurre, Patton, Ray and White are students at Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia Hills. Harris is a student at Clay-Chalkville Middle School, and Brooks is a student at Irondale Middle School. The girls were concerned about the lack of safe play areas for children, so they created the Garden of Imagination for girls and Fort Campsite for boys at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover. They removed weeds and cleared a path to an unused area at the gardens. They also built forts, made signs, collected bins for storage and built a pretend fire pit. The scouts said their focus was to show children how to have fun outdoors, use their imaginations and keep the gardens clean. They said the project taught them communication, leadership and teamwork skills. The Girl Scout Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn. It symbolizes her accomplishments in Girl Scouting and community activities as she matures and works to better her life and the lives of others.

Homewood Resident Completes Master Class

Annie Laurie Sinclair, Speech-Language Pathologists

A Homewood resident recently took part in a Master Dance Class with the Radio City Rockettes. Ann Coker participated in the class at the Atlanta Ballet Center on Nov. 3 as part of a Broadway Master Class Series sponsored by Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. The intensive dance class for intermediate and advanced Anna Coker dancers

featured the Rockettes’ precision dancing techniques, including tap, jazz and the famous Rockettes kick-line choreography. Coker is a member of the Homewood Middle School Dance team and has been dancing with the Alabama Ballet for nine years. She will be performing for the fifth year as a member of the

community cast in the Alabama Ballet’s presentation of Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker� this season. She is the daughter of Jim and Lynne Coker of Homewood.

Vestavia Resident Named Professor of the Year A Vestavia Hills resident has been named the 2013 Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Dr. Laura Stultz, a professor of chemistry at BirminghamSouthern College, won the award in Laura Stultz November. She was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States. Stultz has taught at BirminghamSouthern since 1997. BSC Provost Dr. Mark Schantz praised Stultz for her commitment to the college’s three priorities--teaching, service and interdisciplinary research-and her “levelheadedness and keen intelligence.� “Laura has made landmark contributions to her students, to chemistry and to Birmingham-Southern,� Schantz said. “Her influence on her own department’s curriculum has been nothing short of revolutionary. Her innovations represent the kind of revision needed in all introductory science laboratories.� In addition to teaching, Stultz has served on every elected campus committee and as chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Physics for four years. She is co-chairman of the Faculty Advisory Committee, BSC’s equivalent of a faculty senate. Stultz has long involved students in her own cutting-edge research on the potential uses of metals as anti-cancer drugs. She was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Grant along with Dr. Pamela Hanson in the BSC Biology Department to involve students in real science. This fall, Stultz and Hanson hosted a workshop on collaborative undergraduate research with two dozen educators from around the region.

Sarah Jane Driskell presented “The Soprano and the Composer� on Oct. 17 at Reynolds Recital Hall on the campus of Harding University in Searcy, Ark. Driskell will graduate from Harding in May with a degree in music education with an emphasis on vocal performance. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Driskell of Vestavia Hills. Driskell gave the recital with Jordan Simpson, a tenor and composer from Searcy.

Hoover Resident Selected for Calendar Honor

Vestavia Resident Gives Recital in Arkansas

Hoover resident Dr. Henry Panion III has been selected as an honoree for the 2014 African-American History Calendar, presented by AT&T Alabama. The publication highlights people from across the state who have made a lasting impact on communities and individuals in Alabama and around the world. Panion teaches music theory and technology and is the co-director of the Music Technology Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Henry Panion Department of Music. The 2014 calendar will mark the fourth year that AT&T Alabama has led this initiative, which provides educators, parents and visitors a method of identifying African-American role models for youth as it honors notable African-American achievers with ties to Alabama. Calendar honorees of 2014 represent a wide variety of fields, including education, community activism, civil rights, local government, law, medicine and music. Panion was selected along with fellow living honorees Thom Gossom Jr., Lawrence J. Pijeaux Jr., Alexis M. Herman, Amelia Boynton Robinson and Richard Arrington Jr. “It is a great honor to be included among such illustrious company,� Panion said. “I’m truly grateful that my life’s work would be considered worthy of such recognition. I’m proud of my heritage as an Alabamian and an African-American.� Panion is best known for his work as a conductor and arranger for Stevie Wonder. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1995. �

A Vestavia Hills resident recently presented her senior recital at a university in Arkansas.

Send People information to:


34 • Thursday, October

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 15



NEW HOME TRENDS: Soft Sophistication offers high function amid beautiful form By: Helen Vance THE PAGE at Liberty Park - The main-level Owner’s Suite is a perfect example of Soft Sophistication in this 5-bedroom home. JACUZZI

Owner’s Suite


Dressing Café REF. W

The Soft Sophistication design trend can be seen in The Page, a spacious 5-bedroom home at Liberty Park

Sophisticated designs once meant fussy details and high maintenance, but all that has changed. Today, buyers still want a home with world-class design, but they also want it with a softer side. A new design trend called Soft Sophistication is quickly capturing the imagination of people who want their new home to showcase their unique sense of style while still being a truly welcoming home with an easy, soft flow of space. For an exciting example of Soft Sophistication, you’ll want to discover The Page plan at Liberty Park. With its Formal Foyer, Dining Room and Study, this home presents endless

opportunities for beauty and elegance. The Page’s main level focuses on easy living, with a Gourmet Cookery, Café and a Great Room that opens to a large Patio. The main floor’s surprise is its Grand Owner’s Suite and Spa Bath with a large Dressing Room adjacent to the Luxury Laundry Room. Currently Liberty Park is offering a Buyer Incentive of $5,000 toward closing costs available on pre-sale contracts finalized by 12.31.2013. Certain limitations and legal requirements apply. Ask a Liberty Park Properties’ sales representative for details. To see The Page plan, call (205) 945 6401 or visit

Laundry D


Great Room



Cookery Garage


Drop Zone

Bath 2

Suite / Study




THE PAGE Upper-level plan features 3 large bedrooms, an over-sized loft and an optional bonus room.

magically designed for the one thing kids like to play with most. other kids.

Yes, of course you’ll find an awe-inspiring community brilliantly planned with lakes, a community pool, parks and walking trails, tennis courts, ball fields and playgrounds. Everything big kids and little kids could want. But when over 1,200 families chose Liberty Park as their new home, suddenly magic happened. And new kids found new friends, and new friends became best friends. And who is more fun to play with than your very best friends? Come discover the charms of Liberty Park today. After all, a little enchantment makes every day better. New homes, new models and beautiful new neighborhoods now open. Welcome Center open daily. Prices from the high $300s to over $2 million. Home to the highly-rated Vestavia Hills Elementary and Middle Schools at Liberty Park. All information contained herein deemed accurate but not warranted. Neither Liberty Park Properties nor its builders and agents are responsible for errors or omissions. Plan information subject to change without notice.

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205 945 6401


16 • Thursday, December 12, 2013


u Over the Mountain

Buses, Buildings Make 2013 OTM Headlines By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor


uildings going up, buildings coming down, buildings being prepared for better use and bus service being canceled marked the major stories in the Over the Mountain cities this past year. The biggest story from a national, regional and local level was the Hoover school board’s decision in July to eliminate bus service to all students except special needs children starting in the 2014-2015 school year. The board’s action sparked major outrage within the Hoover community as parents packed school board and city council meetings demanding the school board reverse its decision and pleading with city officials to do something to correct the situation either by restoring sales tax funding to the school system or lobbying school officials to change their minds. Superintendent Andy Craig said eliminating bus service would save the hemorrhaging school system about $2.5 million annually but that it represents only the first of the cuts school officials will have to make to get control of its finances. Mayor Gary Ivey and the council have taken a hands-off approach, saying they can’t legally interfere with school board matters. But that didn’t stop Councilman Gene Smith from paying for a $30,000 study out of his own pocket to determine the effects cutting school bus service would have on Hoover’s future economy. While the Hoover school board’s decision proved to be the most controversial issue in the city in 2013, it wasn’t the only story of note. The 1.5 million square-foot Galleria this year completed a nearly $60 mil-

lion facelift, including upgrades to its indoor facilities and parking deck and the addition of the Davenport, Iowabased Von Maur department store in Macy’s’ former spot. The Wynfrey Hotel also underwent an approximate $20 million renovation to its 329 rooms and conference space and now bears the name Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel. The $7.5 million Chapel Lane extension opened right before Thanksgiving, providing another avenue to funnel traffic to and from the Riverchase Galleria. The much-awaited extension was nearly 18 years in the making and took nearly two years to complete. But it couldn’t have come at a better time, since the Christmas season tends to congest the roads around the mega mall. “This will allow our citizens to move around much easier,” Ivey said. The extension, which runs a little less than a mile, connects Chapel Road with Galleria Boulevard on the south side of Interstate 459. Ivey said he expects the extension to take between 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles daily from the surrounding roadways, which include I-459, I-65, John Hawkins Parkway and U.S. 31. In Mountain Brook, city officials, much like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” realized “There’s no place like home”–especially a new home. After two years in temporary offices, city services, including police and fire, moved into a new $15.3 municipal complex in April. The 53,000 square-foot facility features fabulous wood finishing on the stairwell, within the council chambers and in individual city offices as well as new areas for the police and fire departments. “It’s a beautiful structure that completely houses the needs of the city

u Hoover

Consultant Presents Study on Ending Bus Service By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

The consultant who studied the impact eliminating school bus service would have on Hoover’s future discussed his findings at a recent meeting attended by only two City Council members. Joe Zanola, owner of Zanola Company, a St. Louis-based real estate research and consulting firm, published a 66-page study which concluded that Hoover’s future home and retail sales and job opportunities would be negatively impacted if the school district eliminates bus service, as it plans to do at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Hoover City Councilman Gene

Smith paid $30,000 for the study. Smith invited Zanola to meet with Hoover residents and explain his study. However, a majority of the council did not stay to hear the report after the council’s Nov. 18 meeting. Hoover City Attorney Charlie Waldrep said before the council meeting concluded that based on his interpretation of Alabama law, a council majority would constitute an official meeting, and if the council met to hear the report, it would be violating the law by interfering in school board matters. After Waldrep’s recommendation, Council President Jack Wright adjourned the meeting, and Mayor Gary Ivey and other council members left. Along with Smith, who remained on the council dais, Councilman John Lyda stayed but was seated in the audi-

and will for years to come,” Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden said. “The second best thing about it is that it’s completely paid for.” Overall, it’s been a great year for Mountain Brook, the mayor said. “Sales taxes are up; the city’s finances are in excellent shape. We are most fortunate,” Oden said. However, all was not rosy in Mountain Brook as a long-time fixture, the Piggly Wiggly, closed its doors despite a campaign to save it. The store was a mainstay in Crestline Village for nearly 30 years. But the owner of the property the Piggly Wiggly leased decided to go a different route even though Piggly Wiggly’s owners wanted to remain as a tenant. Realizing their efforts to “Save the Pig” were futile, residents held an appreciation celebration for the employees of Piggly Wiggly in November, dividing money they raised equally among the store’s 60 employees.

Residents reminisced about good times at the Piggly Wiggly and the employees who made it not just a store but a community institution and a family member. “The whole city, especially the Crestline Village area, are most distressed and mourn the untimely passing of the Piggly Wiggly grocery,” Oden said. While Mountain Brook entered a new city hall, Vestavia Hills officials are making plans to exit their existing municipal center. The City Council has just authorized the mayor to hire a construction manager who will oversee the building of a new municipal complex. City officials plan to move from the existing municipal complex at 513 Montgomery Highway to another site farther south on the highway. They plan to tear down the old Food World building in the Vestavia Plaza Shopping Center at 1052 Montgomery Highway and the abandoned Joe’s Ranch House property at 1105 Mayland Lane and build a new municipal complex.

The current city hall was built in the 1950s and doesn’t meet the needs of the police or fire administration, city officials say. The current building is about 35,000 square feet, and the city needs at least between 40,000 and 50,000 square feet. The city of Vestavia also saw a change in its city managers. Randy Robertson, the city’s former manager, resigned in March, citing a desire to be closer to a gravely ill father-in-law. Enter Jeff Downes, former deputy mayor of Montgomery, as Vestavia Hills’ new city manager. Like Vestavia Hills, Homewood is in the process of building a new city building—but one to meet its recreational needs. The city tore down its former recreation center and is building a new $16 million center to take its place. The new center will feature improved cardio and weight rooms, a larger pool and more room for additional recreational programs. The city also completed more than $400,000 in renovations to Patriot Park on Homewood’s west side. The park features a quarter-of-a-mile walking track, bathroom facility, footbridge and pavilions. Overall, it was a good 2013, Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer said. “The city of Homewood continues to be blessed,” he said. “We have been able to outperform the national and regional economy without decreasing services. We will continue to look for ways to decrease expenses while increasing revenues. My goal has always been to run the city as I run a business…profitable in every way possible while continuing to provide the high level of services our residents deserve.” ❖

ence. Zanola explained aspects of his study to about 50 people attending the meeting and answered their questions. According to Zanola’s study, by 2020, the average home price would likely be $88,286 less with no school bus service, total home sales would likely drop by 1,027, there would likely be 13,500 fewer jobs and the retail tax would likely be about $1.1 billion less without school transportation. An audience member asked Zanola if, based on his forecast, he would leave Hoover if he were a resident. Zanola declined to give his personal opinion. Hoover resident Catrena Norris Carter said the study’s results were not surprising. “All of us knew this. We’ve been saying this since this started,” she said.  Carter also berated the mayor and city council members who didn’t stay for the meeting.  “I find the actions of this council completely disrespectful that they would walk out on us,” Carter said.

“The nerve of them to not even want to hear what the citizens who voted them in had to say.” Smith said he wanted an independent consultant to assess the impact of Hoover schools eliminating bus service, “someone from out of state who was not a stakeholder in the issue.” Ivey said city officials took the advice of the city attorney and left the meeting so they wouldn’t be in violation of the law. The mayor also said he saw the study but disagrees with it. He said there’s no historical basis to conclude the city’s retail and real estate sector would decline with no school bus service. He also said the school system must do something to reduce a $17 million deficit, and he’d rather the system lose transportation than teachers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has asked the Hoover school systems for information about its bus operations.  “We will provide that information,” said School Superintendent Andy Craig in a press statement. “I want to stress

that we have been in open and productive dialogue with the United States Department of Justice, and we will continue to provide all relevant information.” The school board’s July decision to cut bus service next school year sent shockwaves through the Hoover community and generated national attention from CNN and National Public Radio among others. Many Hoover residents claim the move is an attempt to weed from the school system many of the city’s poorer citizens who rely on bus service to get to school, an accusation school officials deny. School board members and Craig say the decision was prompted by declining revenues and a growing school population and represents the first of many changes school officials must implement to get control of its finances. Eliminating bus service to all students except for special needs children will save the education district nearly $2.5 million annually. ❖

Another big story from 2013 was the end of the four-year court battle to bring a new hospital to the U.S. 280 corridor. Wayne T. Smith, left, chairman, president and CEO of Community Health Systems, Trinity’s parent company, and Gov. Robert Bentley spoke at the unveiling of the new name and logo for Grandview Medical Center on U.S. 280. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel



u Over the Mountain

French Joins 46th District Race

A former state senator is seeking to return to the Alabama Legislature. Steve French of Mountain Brook has announced his candidacy for the State House of Representatives District 46 seat, which includes portions of Hoover, Homewood and Mountain Brook. French, a 51-year-old Republican, is seeking to fill the seat currently held by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, who announced in October that he is running for Congress next year. French spent three terms in the Alabama Senate before losing his seat to Sen. Slade Blackwell in the 2010 Republican primary. French is senior vice president of business development at Sterne Agee and was the executive director of the Alabama Republican Party from 19881991.

“As a lifelong conservative and a financial professional, I want to take my business training and my philosophy of limited government to Montgomery Steve French to help create jobs for the people of Jefferson County,” French said in a prepared statement. “We need elected officials who understand financial issues, who understand balancing a budget, who understand that government, like families, must live within its means, and we must demand a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude towards corruption.” ❖

u Homewood

Six Areas Will Get Wi-Fi Service By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

The city of Homewood has decided to extend its Wi-Fi network to six areas instead of five. City officials had originally identified Patriot Park, the Senior Center, Overton Park, Central Park and the new community center now being built as wireless hot spots. However, Mayor Scott McBrayer said city workers couldn’t get electricity to a building at Overton Park, which nixed it as a Wi-Fi site. ‘It makes it easier for resiInstead, the city will estabdents to stay connected, I’ve lish Wi-Fi at the Lee Center in Rosedale and will add city hall heard residents say it would as another site. be nice for the city to be forCity officials had placed ward thinking and offer this nearly $16,000 in the 201314 fiscal budget to equip new service, which will be popular Homewood areas meaningful and add value to with Wi-Fi. Although the city life in Homewood.’ allocated $16,000, the actual cost to equip the city with Mayor Scott McBrayer Wi-Fi should come under that amount, the mayor said. Wi-Fi allows residents with electronic devices to connect to the Internet wirelessly. “It makes it easier for residents to stay connected,” McBrayer said. “I’ve heard residents say it would be nice for the city to be forward thinking and offer this new service, which will be meaningful and add value to life in Homewood.” James Yates, the city’s IT director, is coordinating the installation of Wi-Fi throughout the city. Except for the new community center, the other spots should be equipped with Wi-Fi by the end of February. Once the new community center is completed, Wi-Fi will be installed there, McBrayer said. The new community center is expected to be completed by the end of April or the first week in May, he said. ❖

u Mountain Brook

Cahaba Village Will Get More Parking By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

The Mountain Brook City Council recently amended the city’s Cahaba Village Master Development Plan to provide more parking spaces at the development. The amendment paves the way for nearly 130 additional parking spaces at Cahaba Village. Representatives for Bayer Properties had requested additional parking to alleviate overcrowding at the shopping development. About 60 new parking spaces would be added on the west side of Green Valley Road and about 70 would be added to the east of Green Valley Road near the Whole Foods store. Green Valley separates Whole Food from the Cahaba Village shopping strip. “Cahaba Village has been wildly successful,” said Mountain Brook City Manager Sam Gaston. “You can hardly find a parking space. This would add much-needed parking we can use for shoppers and visitors to that shopping center.” Whole Foods is responsible for the additional parking on its side of Cahaba Village. The council had to amend the plan because the additional parking was not part of the original master plan. ❖

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 17

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18 • Thursday, December 12, 2013


holiday inspired cooking Meredith McMillan, left, put a new twist on a cheese straw recipe by her mother, Sarah Carlisle, right, to create Merry Cheese Crisps. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Crunchy Creations

Merry Cheese Crisps Are Twists on a Tasty Tradition By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

eredith McMillan could have reasonably been intimidated about creating and selling a food product because her husband is well-known Birmingham chef George McMillan. But the Mountain Brook woman said the most intimidating part of launching Merry Cheese Crisps was worrying what people would think of her take on a Southern favorite. Merry Cheese Crisps are McMillan’s spin

‘In starting this business, I knew the expectations would be high. Southerners grow up eating cheese straws and are very particular about what they want.’ on the traditional cheese straw. McMillan’s cheesy handmade treats are round and crispy. “In starting this business, I knew the expectations would be high. Southerners grow up eating cheese straws and are very particular about what they want,” she said. “It can be a very sentimental and personal thing for people, and you want to get it right.” Judging from the small company’s success, McMillan is getting it right. McMillan was a vendor at the Junior League of Birmingham’s Market Noel in November and quickly sold out of Merry Cheese Crisps. “They went pretty quick, and I was kind of amazed,” she said. “The positive feedback has been incredible.” McMillan said she grew up in Alexander City eating the round cheese straws her mother, Sarah Carlisle, would make for holidays, tea parties and bridge club meetings. “They were always something special, something I associated with celebrations and happiness,” McMillan said.

Carlisle said she came up with the recipe for round cheese straws out of necessity when she was a young bride. “My mother-in-law was a wonderful cook and she had a cheese straw press that made them in the traditional shape, but I never could get the hang of that press, so I started making the round ones,” Carlisle said. McMillan grew up helping her mom make the unique round cheese straws and as an adult made them at holidays to give to friends. “It’s not a difficult process,” McMillan said. “It’s just a time-consuming and messy process.” For about 10 years, McMillan experimented with the recipe she inherited from her mother, making different variations to give to friends and family members. “I wanted a light, crispy, full-flavored crisp with a sharp cheddar flavor and just a slight, spicy kick in the finish,” she said. Her variations always went over well with those who received them, so last year, McMillan said, she decided to take her creations to a larger audience. “Sybil Sylvester of Wildflower Designs ended up ordering a lot of them from me last year, and I thought I should just throw caution to the wind and make it into a real business,” McMillan said. For her company’s name, McMillan also looked to her family heritage. “Merry is a shortened version of a nickname I had growing up, and it brings back happy memories for me,” she said. “I hope that happy memories are made with Merry Cheese Crisps.” It has been about a year since McMillan stuck her toe in the waters of entrepreneurship, and now Merry Cheese Crisps can be purchased at nine Over the Mountain and Birmingham stores. McMillan said she owes the success of the company not only to the customers who have embraced her new twist on the classic cheese straw but also to venues like Pepper Place. “The whole Birmingham community has See MERRY, facing page

Jennifer’s Jam-up Jellies Homewood Mom Turns Hobby into Business

By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

hen she decided to leave behind the long hours of her job in advertising to become a stay-at-home mom, Jennifer Lee of Homewood approached the change the way she approaches most things in life--by going all out. In the 12 years since the 42-year-old mother of three traded in her corporate wardrobe for an apron and an oven mitt, she’s transformed a hobby into a national business. “When I see the shipping labels to send my products to Las Vegas or Minnesota, I still can’t believe that this is something that started in my kitchen,” Lee said. Lee is the owner of From Jennifer’s Kitchen, a line of all-natural pepper jellies she developed from her own recipes. The line is sold locally at A Little Something in Cahaba Heights and is also available online. While Lee said she’s developed loyal customers in the Over the Mountain and Birmingham metro areas, she’s still amazed at the regions of the country that can’t get enough of her pepper jellies. “They love the pepper jellies in Texas,” Lee said. “I don’t know why, but I probably have more customers there than in all the other states combined.” The path to national success for Lee’s pepper jelly line began with the young mother’s desire to conquer the domestic realm. “Back then, the only thing that was on television during the day was Martha Stewart and Christopher Lowell,” she said. “I would watch those shows and think that I could do those things, and so I decided I wanted to master them and be the best stay-at-home mom I could possibly be.” As she expanded her culinary repertoire, Lee decided to try her hand at making one of her father’s favorite recipes for the holidays. “My father loves this cranberry sauce, a cranberry conserve that his mother used to make for him, so one Christmas I thought it would be nice to try and make some for him Jennifer Lee, the owner of From Jennifer’s Kitchen, shows her products in her Homewood kitchen. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

by developing a similar recipe,” Lee said. Lee’s cranberry conserve was a hit with the family that Christmas and won the approval of the one person she most wanted to impress—her dad. “He loved it and I was thrilled,” Lee said. “The next year, my mom wanted me to try to make some pepper jelly for her, and it was also a big hit with my family and friends.” The pepper jelly went over so well, Lee said, that before too long, she was making enough to feed a small army--or a lot of customers.

‘When I see the shipping labels to send my products to Las Vegas or Minnesota, I still can’t believe that this is something that started in my kitchen.’ “Before I knew it, I was making 1,000 jars each Christmas to give to family and friends,” she said. “It was around that time that my husband said it was time to get out of our kitchen and think bigger.” Lee said she was both excited and scared about launching her own company. “This was a hobby, and now it was going to become work. That was scary,” she said. Lee started taking her pepper jellies to local markets and having shows at her house to demonstrate how to use the pepper jellies in recipes. As the demand for her products grew, Lee said she knew it was time to start producing on a larger scale. “It took about two years to convert to the setup we have now where the jellies are made and packaged in Oklahoma,” she said. “We chose Oklahoma because it was centrally located and gave us great access to fresh fruits to make the jellies and great access for shipping them all over the country.” See JELLIES, facing page


Pepper Jelly Cheesecake

From previous page

The jellies are still all-natural and do not include preservatives or food coloring, Lee said. “My youngest son is allergic to food coloring, and so I understand personally why it’s so important to keep those high quality standards in my products,” she said. Lee said she will be glad to have some time at home this Christmas to spend with her husband of 18 years, Douglas, and their children, 15-yearold Parker, 13-year-old Anna Corinne and 7-year-old Ethan. “I travel a lot now with the company. I go to a lot of trade shows and markets all over the country,” she said. “I am looking forward to spending the holidays at home.” But Lee said that even in her downtime, she’s sure to be thinking, at least a little bit, about her company and her customers. “It’s just the way I do things. I like to stay busy, to be productive. I’m not good at being idle,” she said, laughing. Lee said she was recently remind-


Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 19



Alabama Nasal & Sinus Center

To help make your holiday gatherings deliciously festive, Lee shared this recipe using her pepper jelly: 1 block of cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 jar of jelly, divided in half 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese 1 egg 6 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, optional Crackers Mix cheeses, egg, garlic and one half of the jar of jelly. Place in greased 8x8 dish or small springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Watch for brown edges and remove when firm. Spread remaining jelly over the top of the cheesecake and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve with crackers.

ed why she loves her job so much while selling her products at a holiday market in Gardendale. “A woman comes running across the room, screaming my name. She said she didn’t see me at the Junior

Lee’s jellies are made from fresh, all-natural ingredients and are free of preservatives and food coloring. They are sold locally at A Little Something in Cahaba Heights and online at www.fromjenniferskitchen. com. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

League’s holiday market this year and that she had to have her pepper jelly for her holiday parties,” Lee said. “She said she was so thankful she found me, and that made me feel really good.” ❖

It’s a truckload of stuff! both locations of New York Butcher also Birmingham area residents,

From previous page

just been incredible,” McMillan said. “And I really want to give credit to Pepper Place for the great exposure they gave us over the summer. I think it’s really important for people in the community to support each other.” That philosophy of supporting folks in her community means McMillan is staffing her company with local talent, she said. “The Higgins and Sirkins families and Americandesign did our labels, and they live in our neighborhood,” she said. The company’s graphic artist, Karly Martin, photographer Catherine Mayo and website developer Nate Schmidt are

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Shop, Overton & Vine, Please Reply, McMillan said. St. Vincent's Health and Wellness Shuleva Smith’s Variety, V. Richards and McMillan said her husband has Michael Arceneaux Gallery 7191 Cahaba Valley Road, Suite 301 Western Supermarket in Mountain been supportive of her venture from 802-5800 • Tues. - Sat. 10-5 Birmingham, Al 35242 Brook. the very beginning and lets her have SoHo visit Square For more information, mer-Homewood the run of his kitchen at FoodBar 205-980-2091 ❖ in Cahaba Heights on Sundays and Mondays. “That’s when I do my baking, when the FoodBar is closed,” she Libby Pantazis said. “George has given me tips on taking my recipe and fine-tuning it for bigger batches.” McMillan said she’s not sure what To: Marylin the future holds for Merry Cheese From: Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., Crisps but said she is committed to 205-824-1246, fax keeping them handmade in small Date: November 2013 batches. “I’ve created a little monster, and This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Journal for the I love my little monster,” McMillan Arceneaux Gallerynovmeber 28, 2013 issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to said, laughing. approve your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changes to 824-1246. 802-5800 • Tues. - Sat. 10-5 Merry Cheese Crisps are availSoHo Square Homewood able at The Cook Store, Freshfully, Please make sure all information is correct,

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The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama was recently awarded a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley.

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Food Bank Wins Grant for Weekend Program

The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama recently announced a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley to fund its Weekenders BackPack Program, a child hunger initiative that helps make sure kids are fed when they aren’t in school. The local award is the latest phase of Fill the Plate, Morgan Stanley’s longstanding partnership with Feeding America, one of the nation’s leading hunger-relief charities. As part of that initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $1 million each year for the next four years to local food banks like the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama to launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs. “We are thrilled to receive this important grant from Morgan Stanley to fund our efforts to deliver more nutritious meals to children and families,” said Mary Michael Kelley, the food bank’s executive director.

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“What’s extraordinary and groundbreaking about this award is that we were able to choose how to use the funds in a way that best matches the nutritional health needs of the Central Alabama region.” The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama’s Weekenders BackPack Program puts nutritious food directly into the hands of children at risk of hunger by filling backpacks with staples such as cereal, bread, snacks and canned goods. Kids who usually get reduced or free lunches at school can get the nutrition they need even when they aren’t in school during weekends or long school breaks. “Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of Morgan Stanley’s core values,” said Darby Henley, executive director, complex manager, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Birmingham. “We are proud of our firm’s grant to the Community Food Bank of Central

Alabama, especially since so many of us are also long-time volunteers at this important community organization.” Founded in 1982, the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama operates as a central clearinghouse for collecting food that might otherwise be wasted. The food bank solicits and receives both new and commercially excess but fully edible food from multiple food industry sources and distributes that food to nonprofits in the community. Those agencies include emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and snack programs. The agencies that receive food from the food bank must agree to distribute that food to the needy free of charge. The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama serves 12 counties and in 2012 distributed more than 7 million pounds of food in the community. ❖

Aldridge Gardens Wins Grant for Programs

role in this project,” Waggoner said. Tynette Lynch, chief executive officer of Aldridge Gardens, said the Children’s Education Program is making an impact in the community. “It means so much to the schoolchildren who benefit from this sponsorship,” Lynch said. Students from Greystone Elementary School were present at the event. State Rep. Jim Carns also attended and applauded the work of the gardens’ administration and volunteers.  “We are fortunate to have the Children’s Education Program available to elementary students. I am thankful for the volunteers at Aldridge Gardens who willingly serve to make this program possible,” Carns said. ❖

Aldridge Gardens recently announced a $5,000 grant for its children’s programs from the Cawaco Resource, Conservation and Development Council and provided details about the gardens’ hands-on educational programs available to elementary school students. Aldridge Gardens offers field trip and day camp programs to give children the opportunity to learn about nature and appreciate science in an outdoor classroom setting. All programs comply with the Alabama State Course of Study so students can learn the concepts they are studying in the classroom in an interactive way. State Sen. Jabo Waggoner was on hand for the grant presentation and expressed his gratitude for the program and its positive effect on children. “Many elementary students never have this opportuni- From left: Rep. Jim Carns, Jim Wilson, Audrey Ann ty, and I am proud to Wilson, Tynette Lynch, Patti Pennington and Sen. Jabo have played a small Waggoner. Photo special to the Journal

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 21



Funds raised to benefit the math and debate teams at Vestavia Hills High School, the math team at Pizitz Middle School and Sikuzu Community School in Mwandi, Africa were recently presented at a Vestavia Rotary Club meeting. From left: Kent Howard, club member and Iron City Chair; David Miles, principal Pizitz Middle School; Wes Chapman, principal, Vestavia Hills High School; Greg Jeane, club member who heads up Sikuzu project and Ted Strong, club president.Journal photo by Maury Wald

Vestavia Rotary Club Event Sets Fundraising Record An annual culinary event to raise money to help those in the community and abroad sold out again this year. A continuation of the Vestavia Hills Rotary Club’s Toast Series, the 2013 Iron City Chef competition fundraiser set a record by raising $18,000. Proceeds will benefit the math and debate teams at Vestavia Hills High School, Pizitz Middle School math team the Culinary and Hospitality Institute at Jefferson State Community College and the Sikuzu Community School in Mwandi, Africa, and help with local disaster

relief efforts. Sikuzu is a bush community five miles east of Mwandi, Zambia. Sikuzu has a population of about 375 people, including more than 170 children who are school age or younger. Since 1989, the Vestavia Hills Rotary Club’s Toast Series and Iron City Chef competitions have distributed more than $600,000 to these local and international causes. Iron City Chef has increased the distribution of funds by 80 percent over the past five years, Rotary officials said. “This program is a success

because of great support from our local chefs, including 2013 participants Haller Magee of Satterfield’s, Jeremy Downey of Bistro V, Sean Butler of Food Studio B and James Pruitt of Todd English PUB,” said Kent Howard, Iron City Chef chairman. Howard said the event was a success due to the corporate sponsorship of businesses like Western Supermarkets and WVTM 13 “that help create a great night out that the community looks forward to every year.” ❖

Scouts Launch Capsule on Weather Balloon Boy Scouts from Mountain Brook recently launched video equipment and tracking devices 100,000 feet in the air. Members from Boy Scout Troop 320 at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church launched a capsule attached to a weather balloon up to an altitude of about 100,000 feet before the weather balloon burst and returned to the ground on a parachute. The capsule containing the video equipment and tracking devices was recovered 165 miles away and was fished out of Lake Lanier by members of the Lake Lanier Sailing Club. ❖

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22 • Thursday, December 12, 2013


Heritage Highlights


Debutantes Are Presented at Annual Ball

From left: Elizabeth Sparrow, Maggie Pitts, Virginia Nelson, Anne Thompson and Heath Beauchamp. Photos special to the Journal by Dee Moore

Holly Tracy, Elizabeth Ann Williams, Callan Sherrod and Letty Woods Wyatt.

Newman Deaton, Delia Folk, Grace McCalley, Maxwell Thompson and Taylor Hiden.

Margaret Lacey, Lillian Ratliff, Maggie King and Clayton Clark.

Comer Crockard, Grace Register, Lindsey Badham, Melissa Robinson and Nonie Brown.

Palmer Miller, Joy Cornay, Christi Israel, Hannah Bromberg and Mary Paty Bryant.


wenty-nine young women were presented at the 2013 Heritage Ball last month. The annual ball was held, according to tradition, the day after Thanksgiving at the Country Club of Birmingham. The Birmingham Debutante Club honored the young women, who were presented by their fathers. For the formal presentation, harpist Judy Sargent provided music, and David Seale was the announcer and master of ceremonies. The debutantes were dressed in long white ball gowns and carried bouquets of roses in shades of peach and coral accented with seeded eucalyptus and dusty miller. Following the presentation, debutantes and guests danced

to the music of the Big Blast & the Party Masters, a popular 10-piece party band from Atlanta. The club was transformed for the evening by Buffy Hargett Flowers. A canopy of blush and white lights set the tone in the Country Club East Room. Live pear trees were decorated with roses, lilies and hydrangeas, and a centerpiece was made of hanging orchids and twinkle lights. Debutantes and their dates for the evening were Lindsey Badham and Miller Fitts, Heath Beauchamp and Brady Teschner, Hannah Bromberg and Nick Goga, Nonie Brown and Will Jenkins, Mary Paty Bryant and Jack Feist, Clayton Clark and Simon Basillico, Joy Cornay and Jason Viera, Comer Crockard and John Houston Blount, Newman Deaton

and Adam Wilson, Delia Folk and Matt Litovitz, Taylor Hiden and Stephen Elliott, Christi Israel and Allen Nabors, Maggie King and Dixon Johns, Margaret Lacey and Jack Lacey, Grace McCalley and Austin Barranco, Palmer Miller and DeCoursey Beach, Virginia Nelson and Jeffrey Moore, Maggie Pitts and Ford Rushton, Lillie Ratliff and Petersen Bolvig, Grace Register and Jim Goyer, Melissa Robinson and John Matthews, Callan Sherrod and Davis Burleson, Elizabeth Sparrow and Andrew Watson, Anne Thompson and Drew Danielly, Maxwell Thompson and James Ingram, Holly Tracy and Alexander Thompson, Elizabeth Ann Williams and Butler Sparks, Marianne Williams and Grant Galtney and Letty Woods Wyatt and Wiley Anderson. ❖



Holiday Highlight

From left: Marvin and Vicki Perry, Paul Romjue, Conrad Sharps and Jennifer Cope. Photos special to the Journal

IPC Entertains Reception Honors Holiday Tour Homeowners Over the Mountain homeowners were recently honored for opening their homes to the public for the holidays. A reception honoring the owners of the homes featured on the 64th annual IPC Holiday House Tour was held at the home of Lyda White of Mountain Brook on Nov. 21. White’s home was featured on the tour several years ago and was a perfect venue to welcome guests, including committee members, former and current tour homeowners, architects, designers and decorators. Guests enjoyed food prepared by Kim Martin of the IPC kitchen. Desserts, savory appetizers and fruits hand-dipped in chocolate were presented on silver trays. Flowers complementing the colors of fall were on the dining table and mantels throughout the home. Spotted at the reception were Jennifer Cope, 2013 tour chairman, and her co-chairmen, Kathy Thomson and Margaret Shuttlesworth. Also at the reception were IPC minister Conrad Sharps and his

Four homes in Redmont Park and one in Mountain Brook will be open for this year’s Independent Presbyterian Church’s Holiday House Tour. The annual event is set for Dec. 14 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Dec. 15 from 1-5 p.m. To buy tickets, call the church at 933-1830, visit www. or stop by the church reception desk during business hours.

Jennifer Cope, Ben and Staci Thompson and Louise and John Beard.

wife, Lauren. Others attending were Paul Romjue, Amy McCain, tour ticket chairman, and Hilary Ross, tour publicity chairman, with her husband, Mike Ross. Robert Hill, Vicki and Marvin Perry and Sarah Duggan were also at the event along with Jason Turner, former IPC Day School director. Staci and Ben Thompson and

Louise and John Beard were joined at the reception by their house chairmen, Betsy Faucette, Martha White and Lynne Simmons. Also seen were Maggie and Will Brooke, Penney Hartline, Martha White, Cathy and Barry DeLozier, Laurie Grantham, Rita and James Dixon and Kennon and Ann Walthall. ❖

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years ago. At the Founders’ Reception, guests got a preview of the new holiday exhibit, the Magic of Model Trains. They also watched a slideshow featuring photos telling the story of the McWane Science Center, which was founded in 1998. McWane Science Center is a nonprofit, hands-on discovery museum and IMAX Dome Theater. Designed to inspire a lifelong love of learning, McWane has welcomed millions of visitors since opening its doors in

1998. With four floors of interactive exhibits, McWane has an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by award-winning educators. Explorers of all ages come year-round to see, hear, touch and experience the wonder of science in the unique venue. “We are proud of the history of McWane Science Center as well as the future we see ahead here in downtown Birmingham. We are fortunate to have so many people who believed

in the Center then and believe in the Center now,” said Amy Templeton, chief executive officer of the McWane Science Center. Guests attending the reception included former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington, current McWane Science Center board member Phillip McWane and former board president and founding member Margaret Porter. Others attending the reception included Lou Kirchen, Nina Botsford, Miller Gorrie, Scott Adams, Forest Whatley, Brynne Bivens MacCann, Joe Sherman and Maryanne Sherman. ❖

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 25



From left: Julie Sanderson, Amy Knight, Katie Patrick, Suzanne Hughes, Melissa Seton and Laura Sink. Photos special to the Journal

KD Alums Hear from Girl Scout Director The Mountain Brook chapter of Kappa Delta Alumnae met recently to celebrate the organization’s Founders Day and to learn about the Girl Scouts. The celebration was held in October at the home of Laura Sink. Kappa Delta is the first and only National Panhellenic Conference group to adopt the Girl Scouts as a national philanthropy. Those attending the Founders Day event heard how scouting benefits girls. Catherine Bedingfield, external affairs director of the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, spoke at the event and talked about the goals the organization has in common with Kappa Delta, including promoting honesty, integrity and the meaning of true friendship. Bedingfield said both organizations strive to build strong leadership development among their members and encourage community involvement. Kappa Delta and Girl Scouts have been teaming up since the spring of 1998. More than 40 million American women and more than three-fourths of Kappa Delta alumni have been Girl

Scouts. Following the Founders Day meeting and program, those attending enjoyed lunch from Taziki’s with dessert from Cynthia Shearer, who made cookies from a recipe from the Junior League of Birmingham’s cookbook for the occasion. Those attending included Jane Brakefield, Leigh Bromberg, Barbara Burton, Sarah Centeno, Kaci Chesebro, Elizabeth Crommelin, Francie Deaton, Frances Faulconer, Marlea Foster, Betsy Harmon and Lucie Haynes. Also spotted at the Founders Day celebration were Suzanne Hughes, Carol Hunter, Jennifer Kline, Amy Knight, Michele Knowles, Barbara Lanier, Barbara Lummis, Vicki Lukens, Nancy McCollum, Lelie

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From left: Fall Dance chairmen Carolyn Delk, Shirley Evans and Linda Gooldrup. Photos special to the Journal

Moonlight Merriment Coronets Have Annual Dinner Dance

Members of the Coronets Dance Club danced the night away at an Oct. 18 event at the Vestavia Country Club. The theme for the club’s annual world’s greatest card game. Bridge lessons begin dinner was “Under the This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL dance for the Moonlight.” at 1 p.m. Thursday, January 16, at the Birmingham Oct. 6, 2011 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. The tables in the ballroom were Bridge Club, 144 Business Center Drive, 35244. covered with white linen cloths with Please sureinformation. all information is correct, Callmake now for more blue satin overlays. Centerpieces featured lighted vases with white including address and phone number! Birmingham Bridge Club branches accented with crystals and white lights. (205) 560-0706 Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. Dance music was performed by the If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press Checkmates. date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Those spotted mixing and minThank you for your prompt attention. gling at the evening affair included Edna and Ken Alderman, Sue and David Belcher, Barbara and Dr. Julie C Harper, MD Rebecca Edwards, CRNP Jennifer Hewitt, PA

John Bell, Redonda and Lowell Broom, Lynne and Mark Cohen, Dot Crook and John Creel, Bettie Davenport, Carolyn and Jim Delk, Nancy Becker and Don Englebert, Betty Tucker and George Miller and Gloria Hudson and Dick Paxton. Others enjoying the dinner dance were Carolyn and Arthur Edge, Cindy and Tom Edmonds, Shirley and Roy Evans, Nelle and Clyde Freeman, Pat and Rick Garlikov, Clarice and Sydney Gibbs and Virginia and John Golightly. Also attending were Linda and Mike Gooldrup, Corinne Greer, Jean and David Hendrickson, Margaret and Bill Howell, Rusty and

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Don Kirkpatrick, Jennie and Jim Lewis, Betty and Les Longshore, Joanne and Art McConnell and Betty and J. Paul Meeks. Others joining the celebration were Cele and Gus Miller, Betty and Malcolm Miller, Lovie and John Montgomery, Shirley and Howard Palmes, Dena and Wallace Parker, Evelyn and William Ringler, Liz and Mike Slive, Ming and Jerry South, Susan and Joe Stofel, Phyllis and Roye Tinsley, Shelly and Steve Watkins and Jackie and Rex Webb. ❖

Bid ’N Buy Benefit Garden Club Raises Funds for Vestavia Landmark

Members of the Vestavia Hills Garden Club gathered recently for an annual This is your ad proof from the over The mounTain Journal forevent the to help raise money to maintain the city’s treasured historical landmark. dec. 12, 2013 ssue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. The club held its annual Bid ‘N Buy auction on Nov. 14 at the Vestavia please make sure all information is correct, including address and Country Club. All proceeds from the phone number! event go to the maintenance of Sybil Temple on U.S. 31. please initial and fax back within 24 hours. Thepaper replica of the Temple of Sibyl if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the monday. in Tivoli, Italy, sits atop Red Mountain Thank you for your prompt attention. overlooking Vestavia Hills and is known by many as the “gateway to

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for the temple also comes from the Sibyl Temple Foundation. The city of Vestavia Hills provides support with maintenance, security and public information regarding the more photos at temple. The Nov. 14 Bid ‘N Buy event included silent and live auctions. The Vestavia Hills Garden Club members chairing the annual auction event were Judy Leesburg, Melinda Helveston, Kay Henry, Wendy Henry, Dawn Bendig and Leigh Ann Yielding. ❖


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Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 27

From left: Catherine Pewitt, Tricia Abele, Amanda Morrissette, Allison Adams, Barbara Thompson and Martha Grizzle. Photo special to the Journal

Founders’ Day Festivities Tri Deltas Gather for Fall Meeting

Delta Delta Delta alumni met recently at home of Lee Sewell for their annual fall meeting and the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of Tri Delta. Birmingham alumni chapter president Genie Stutts welcomed alums from Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Florida State, South Carolina and several other colleges to the event. Stutts talked about upcoming events, including the Circle Degree presentation for those who have been members for 50 years. The presentation will be made at the chapter’s alumni tea on Dec. 15 at the home of Mary Elaine Jolly. Those who attended learned that the University of Alabama alumni chapter recently held its annual fundraiser for St. Jude’s Hospital. Elizabeth Hargrove chaired the event, which raised more than $14,000 to help find a cure for children’s cancers. Some of the members attending the fall meeting and

Class Bash Berry Reunion Includes Scholarship Project

Founders’ Day celebration were Joy Boozer, Kim Poynor, Gina Karcher, Laurie Hereford, Jeannie Dodson, Anne Spurlock, Argie McDonald, Amanda Morrissette and Trisha Dodson. Also attending were Kimberly Bean, Sue Watkins, Hassell Handrahan, Elizabeth Lynn, Anne Sherrod, Hope Hymer, Joan Gambrell, LaVonda Keel, Jean Smallwood, Patsy Dreher, Barbra Thompson and Jane Van Eaton. Other alumni at the fall event were Celeste Grenier, Suzy Berman, Martha Grizzle, Elizabeth Wyatt, Ginger Hollingsworth, Tricia Abele, Jane Newton, Julie Edwards, Catherine Pewitt, Bea Healey, Susan Waldrop, Allison Adams, Kathryn Norris, Donne Toomey, Cheryl Crane, Nancy Riley, Miriam McClung and Patty Faulkner. The first meeting of 2014 is planned for Feb. 11 at Paige Albright Orientals in Mountain Brook. ❖

chairman of the reunion planning team, and Dick DeShazo was treasurer. Leslie Melton Appleton was in charge of entertainment and photography, and Marjo Hillhouse Gann took care of decorations. The class directory, “45 in 45,” and trivia duties were handled by Carol Raines Drummond. Rodger Rainey was in charge of communications, and Beverly Armour Searcy organized the welcome team and classmate memorial. Before the reunion festivities at

Park Lane, the former classmates took a tour of the old Berry High School campus on Columbiana Road. They gathered for photos with the school’s landmark tile mural in the background. The tour was followed by a luncheon at Do Di Yo’s in Homewood. The Class of 1968 reunion team is already working on plans for the 50th year reunion in 2018. The goal for that reunion is to raise $5,000 for another scholarship to benefit a Hoover student. ❖

Former classmates at W.A. Berry High School used their 45th reunion to catch up with old friends and raise money for a scholarship to be awarded to a Hoover High School student. The event was held on Nov. 23 at Park Lane in Mountain Brook’s English Village. More than 140 people attended. The reunion raised $1,500 for the W.A. Berry High School Class of 1968 Academic Scholarship, which will be awarded to a deserving student from Hoover High School. The reunion’s planning team worked for almost a year to set the date, find a venue, identify and contact classmates and secure entertainment and photography for the event. The planning team for the 45th reunion included members from Birmingham, Atlanta, From left: Members of the W.A. Berry 1968 reunion planning team are Berry Leslie Athens, Ga., and Portland, Melton Appleton, Dick DeShazo, Carol Raines Drummond, Chuck Steiner, Marjo Hillhouse Gann, Rodger Rainey and Beverly Armour Searcy (not pictured). Ore. Chuck Steiner was the Photo special to the Journal


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28 • Thursday, December 12, 2013



Showing Their Colors

Fandango Members Host Tailgate Party From left: Rebecca Mason, Rick MacKay, Barrett MacKay, Vicki McGehee and Charles McGehee. Photos special to the Journal

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Emily Ross, Dotty Carley, Buddy Morris and Emily Rose Morris.

Members of the Fandango Dance Club recently celebrated the football season with a tailgate party. The members gathered for the “Wear Your School Colors” party at the Birmingham Country Club. Guests were greeted at the door by large cut-outs of University of Alabama mascot Big Al and Auburn University mascot Aubie. The team spirit theme was carried out on the tables, which were decorated with balloons representing the colors of several different universities.

Kathryn Harwell and Antoinette Flowers.

Members attending the event dined on tailgate foods. Those attending the tailgate party included Emily Ross, Dotty Carley, Buddy Morris, Emily Rose Morris, Kathy Pearce, Lochrane Smith and Gwen Mizzell. Others spotted at the event were Laura Bryan, Charlotte Powell, Lisa McCartney, Kathryn Harwell, Antoinette Flowers, Elise Warren, Debra Hamilton, Rebecca Mason, Rick MacKay, Barrett MacKay, Vicki McGehee and Charles McGehee. ❖


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Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Ashley Atkinson of Summit, Miss., announce the engagement of their daughter, Erin Ashley Gaye Atkinson, to Gregory Evans Smith Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Evans Smith Sr. of

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 29

Weddings & Engagements


Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Hugh Edward Tate of Homesville, Miss., and the late Mr. Hugh Edward Tate and the late Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Rodney Atkinson Sr. of Summit. Miss Atkinson is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. She is employed as a registered nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham in the medical intensive care unit. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. William Luther Smith Sr. of Helena and Mr. and Mrs. William Douglas Haskew of Birmingham. Mr. Smith is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Theta Chi fraternity. He is employed with Tacala LLC in Birmingham. The wedding will be Jan. 18.



Carrie Redding McCurdy and Howard Martin Strickler Jr. were united in marriage on Aug. 3 at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. Pastor Tyler Guice of Auburn, friend of the bride and groom, officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Russell McCurdy Jr. of Montgomery and the granddaugh-

Maura Patrice Kelly and Patrick Martin Fitz O’Donnell were married Nov. 23 in St. Louis, Mo. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Martin Jarleth Kelly and the late Mr. Kelly of St. Louis. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Martin O’Donnell of Birmingham. After a wedding trip, the couple is at home in Houston.

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January 9, 2014

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Mary Anne Osborne and Bradley Cloyd Phillips were married Sept. 14 at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. Bishop Robert C. Morgan and the Rev. Dr. T. Michael Morgan

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ter of Mr. and Mrs. George Russell McCurdy Sr. and Mrs. Voncile Redding and the late Mr. Joseph Albert Redding III of Montgomery. The groom is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Howard Martin Strickler of Hoover and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John Otis Hunter of Houston, Ala., and the late Dr. and Mrs. Thomas David Strickler of Berea, Ky. The bride wore a custom designed fit and flare gown of ivory shantung silk created especially for her by Heidi Elnora Atelier of Birmingham. The gown featured an Alencon lace bodice with a sweetheart neckline. The crystal and embroidered belt tied into an exaggerated bow producing a lavish appearance from the front or back. The chapel-length tulle veil was the bride’s “something borrowed.” She carried a bouquet of white and pink roses, vintage hydrangeas and white peonies tied with white satin ribbon. Mary Katherine McCurdy, twin sister of the bride, was maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Katherine Parrish,

Anna Kathryn Huggins, Amie Guice, Courtney Gordon and Margo Maples, all of Birmingham; Elizabeth Guice of Auburn and Beatrice Smith of Jackson, Miss. Anna and Mary Mac Collins of Tuscaloosa and Haleigh Strickler, niece of the groom, of Hoover were the flower girls.  Hunter Strickler, brother of the groom, was the best man. Groomsmen were Jacob McCurdy, brother of the bride, and Taylor Guice, Jared Meads, Steven French, Scott Barnes, James Smith and Tyler Steed, all of Birmingham. The ring bearer was Kirby Collins of Tuscaloosa. Program attendants were Caroline Parrish and Anne Lauris Stewart. The reception was held at Wynlakes Country Club, where the bride and groom chose a menu reflecting their favorite foods. An artist captured the reception with a live event painting as guests danced to music by Nationwide Coverage. After a honeymoon trip to Kauai, Hawaii, the couple live in Tuscaloosa.

officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brad Allen Osborne of Vestavia Hills. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Curtis Phillips, also of Vestavia Hills. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a Vera Wang strapless mermaid floating lace gown with an overlay of tulip and rose lace. She was attended by Jessica Wiggins

Barry and Anne Jones Williams as matrons of honor. Bridesmaids were family and friends from childhood and college. The groom’s father and brother, William Curtis Philips Jr., served as best men. Groomsmen were family and friends from childhood and college. After a wedding trip to Barcelona, Spain, the couple live in Homewood.


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First Things First

Katherine McTyeire Made Time for Community, Business—and Especially Family By Donna Cornelius


Journal features writer

n 1971, a Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce newsletter ran photos of the organization’s new board members. An accompanying article that focused on Katherine McTyeire, the lone woman in the group of 11, described her as “dimpled and energetic.” While that description might not fly in today’s politically correct world, it was accurate. The Mountain Brook resident said she rarely said no when asked to serve on a board or help with a community project. “I volunteered everywhere,” said McTyeire, who recently celebrated her 94th birthday. During the many years she spent as a businesswoman and civic volunteer, McTyeire often found herself in a pioneering role. She was the first woman to serve as a director for the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau of Alabama and First National Bank of Birmingham, later AmSouth. She also was the first woman inducted into the Birmingham Kiwanis Club Business Hall of Fame and to join the Birmingham Rotary Club. But McTyeire was never just a token member of any board or organization. “I always had an opinion,” she said. McTyeire will soon be recognized by her own community. She will receive the Jemison Award for her outstanding citizenship at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards luncheon Jan. 16. Suzan Doidge, the chamber’s executive director, said the award is well deserved. “If there’s one word I’d use to describe Mrs. McTyeire, it’s ‘trailblazer,’” Doidge said. “She made such a difference for so many young women who were getting their start in business.” McTyeire became a fixture in the Birmingham business community with Iron Art, a retail specialty home furnishings shop. She founded Iron Art in 1949, first opening the store on Birmingham’s Southside and later moving it to Mountain Brook Village. “There were not that many women business owners at that time,” Doidge said. “Iron Art never had a lack of business. It wasn’t just a hobby for her.” McTyeire said she was “born on the Southside at 1028 South 26th Street. My grandfather delivered me. He was a doctor.” McTyeire said her father, Bert Meadow, inspired her love for business. Meadow owned Birmingham Ornamental Iron Co., which was later run by McTyeire’s husband, the late William Walter McTyeire. Her parents also set a good example when it came to community service. “You should never neglect your civic duty for the monetary part of life,” McTyeire said. “It’s important to give of yourself. My mother and father were that way. My father often quoted ‘do unto others’ to us, and I quoted it to my employees.” Kate McTyeire Millhouse, one of McTyeire’s five children, said her mother emphasized the importance of volunteering and fair dealing. “She instilled that in us,” Millhouse said. “But she was always there for us and for family

events.” While McTyeire ended up in the business world, she at one time dreamed of pursuing another profession. “I always wanted to be a lawyer. But my father said ladies aren’t lawyers. He wanted me to have a ladylike profession,” she said with a smile.

Katherine McTyeire will receive the Jemison Award at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards luncheon on Jan. 16. Photo special to the Journal

Iron Art was a natural fit for McTyeire. Friends and relatives often asked her father and husband to create special iron pieces for them, she said. “I knew there was a need for that type of furniture,” she said. “I wanted to sell the furniture my dad and husband were making. At that time, stores weren’t really selling casual furniture year round. They would show it in the summer and then replace it with Christmas displays.” To get her business started, McTyeire said, she borrowed $3,000 from her mother. “My mother told my father, ‘Don’t worry— she won’t last a year,’” McTyeire said. “We lasted 60-something years.” Iron Art turned into a thriving business and lasted until 2007, when McTyeire and Millhouse decided to close the shop. Of McTyeire’s three sons and two daughters, Millhouse is the only one who joined her mother at Iron Art. “Kate and I had a good time working and traveling together,” McTyeire said. “It was the greatest blessing for nearly 30 years.” McTyeire’s retail success drew acclaim. She earned several industry awards over the years,

twice winning the national Apollo Award for Excellence in Manufacturing Casual Furniture from the National Furniture Manufacturers Association. She was named Woman of the Year by the Birmingham Business and Professional Women’s Association. “I think I showed people that women could make a difference in business,” she said. Although Iron Art kept her busy, she made community service a priority, too. “I just hoped I could contribute,” she said. “I wanted to improve the environment around me and to help others.” McTyeire said she particularly loved serving as chairman of the Alabama Sesquicentennial Committee when the state celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1969. “I spent two years with that. I had to travel and represent Alabama,” she said. As committee chairman, she got to help place an Alabama state flag atop the U.S. Capitol, she said. McTyeire helped organize the first Mountain Brook merchants’ association and the Emmet O’Neal Library board. She served on the advisory board and was an Executive in Residence for the Auburn University School of Business. She also helped organize the first advisory board for AU’s interior design program. An active supporter of Birmingham-Southern College, she was a trustee for the college, which later awarded her an honorary doctorate in law, and was president of the BSC national alumni association. McTyeire, who’s now enjoying her wellearned retirement, said she considers herself “blessed.” “I had wonderful parents and children. And my husband was the tops. He was so civicminded himself,” she said. Despite her busy work and volunteer schedule, “Home was always first,” she said. McTyeire said the rewards of civic service outweigh the demands. “If you make time for your community, you’ll be blessed a thousand times over,” she said. “Volunteers pump energy into communities and cut down on the expenses. Volunteers are the most important thing in America—besides free enterprise.” ❖ The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce will host its annual awards luncheon on Jan. 16 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Club. Richard C. Kessler, chairman and chief executive officer of The Kessler Enterprise, Inc., will be the keynote speaker. Kessler’s company is developing the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Lane Parke. There is limited reserved seating for the event. For tickets, call 871-3779.


Store Number Four

Issis & Sons Opens in Vestavia Hills By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

teve Issis said he recently opened a fourth location of Issis & Sons under the same principle that has guided his 30-year career in the retail flooring and furniture business. The new Issis & Sons-Greenbrier location in Vestavia Hills is a direct response to his customers’ needs, Issis said. “We’ve always listened to what our customers wanted, and they want convenient locations,” he said. “We have four stores now, but they all follow the same philosophy--that our boss is the customer.” Issis, who lives in Hoover with his wife of 20 years, Cynthia, and three children, ages 12-18, got his start in the business while he was still a teenager. A native of Birmingham, Issis began laying carpet and tile as his own one-man company shortly after graduating from Ensley High Steve Issis recently School. opened Issis & Sons“I liked the work, Greenbrier in Vestavia Hills. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel and I learned that I really loved to please my customers,” he said. “So I did that for about three years and then in 1983, I decided to open the first store.” From the beginning, the enterprise was a family business. Issis’ father, Odeh, took a chance on his young entrepreneurial son and helped him open the first Issis & Sons store in Pelham 30 years ago. That first store in Pelham had about 1,000 square feet and a staff of two, Issis said. “We really started this thing from the ground up, and we were doing all the hands-on work ourselves,” he said. Issis and his father ran the company and worked together every day until Odeh passed away 11 years ago. “I loved every minute of working with him,” Issis said. “I wouldn’t take anything for it.” Issis said he learned a lot from his father about how to be successful in business and in life. “He always told me to really think about things and make sure to do the right thing,” Issis said. “He told me to never do something to anyone that I wouldn’t want done back to me.” The company also has another family connection, Issis said. He said two of his nephews have been working with him for several years and that some employees have been with the company so long, they are considered family. The company kept growing and expanding until the Pelham store consisted of about 100,000-square feet of space. “After that, a lot of our customers started See Issis, facing page



Mountain Brook Store Celebrates 50 Years

A Mountain Brook business that has always been owned and operated by women recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Ruby Ansley Interiors Inc. marked a half-century of doing business in Mountain Brook Village on Nov. 20. The store was opened in 1963 by Ruby Syx Ansley, a founding member of the Alabama Chapter of the American Design Institute of Decorators. Ansley died in January 2012 and left the company in the hands of a woman who had Sallie Aman worked by her side at the store for more than 40 years. Sallie Aman, the current owner, started working at Ruby Ansley Interiors the day after she graduated from the University of Alabama with a design degree. “I’m so happy to still be here, and I had so many wonderful experiences with Ruby. She was a special designer to work with,” Aman said. Aman said she feels blessed that the company’s customers span three generations. Ruby Ansley Interiors provides expert design services from the ground up or for just one room, Aman said. “We also do custom rugs and window treatments, and we have a full selection of fabrics and materials and some antiques on the showroom floor,” she said. “There’s something for every taste and budget.” Ruby Ansley Interiors Inc. is at 2806 Petticoat Lane. For more information, call 871-8294.

Little Lavender Opens Store in Mountain Brook

Cyber shoppers aren’t the only ones who can now browse upscale consigned children’s clothing from Little Lavender. The former web-only based business now has a storefront at 81 Church Street in Mountain Brook.


From previous page

wanting us to open a location in the Highway 280 area, so 12 years ago, we opened a 22,000-square-foot store in Greystone,” Issis said. Issis then opened Issis & Sons Furniture Gallery to serve his customers in Pelham at Cahaba Valley Road and Alabama 119. About four and half years ago, Issis said, he responded to suggestions from the designers he works with and expanded the company to offer furniture, drapes, accessories and more. “It was right around the time the economy bottomed out, and our designers thought that our customers

Faith Gardner bought Little Lavender a little more than a year ago from a Mountain Brook mother of two who started the e-commerce boutique 11 years ago. “My children were getting older, and I wanted to go back to work. I had been involved in the community for 22 years and our PTO for nine years,” Gardner said. “I wanted to stay busy and involved, so I saw the opportunity to take Little Lavender as a great challenge with real potential for growth.” Initially, Gardner ran the business the same way, offering classic, fine clothing for newborns to size 12 to customers around the country. “Our national client base is very strong, but I felt there was major potential to expand locally,” Gardner said. “We began to hold weekly ‘to the public’ sales which were so well attended I realized adding a storefront would really enhance and round out the business.” About 60 percent of the company’s inventory is new overstock merchandise from upscale lines such as Remember Nguyen, Posh Originals, Alice Kathleen, Little Laundry, Lollipop Laundry and others, Gardner said. “When people tell us ‘I am so glad y’all Faith Gardner are here,’ it makes us feel really good about all the effort we put into Little Lavender,” she said.

M&M Jewelers Relocates to Inverness Corners

Jewelry shoppers now have a new option to find shiny, sparkly wares in North Shelby. M&M Jewelers recently moved from Cahaba River Road in Vestavia Hills to 440 Inverness Corners next to the new Winn-Dixie supermarket. Owner Laura Robinson said she hopes the new location at the intersection of U.S. 280 and Valleydale Road will be more convenient for her customers. “I hope to continue to grow my business in the Inverness community,” would respond to having things packaged and available all under one roof, so we expanded to offer the ‘nuts and bolts,’” he said. Greenbrier Furniture closed earlier this year after 50 years in Vestavia Hills, and when the 28,000-square-foot landmark building became available, Issis said he took the opportunity to offer his customers another convenient Issis & Sons location. “It’s a great location and will be great for our customers,” Issis said. “We’re happy to be in Vestavia Hills.” Issis said the new location is called Issis & Sons-Greenbrier as a nod to the location’s history. “The name pays homage to the past but offers a vision of the future,” he said.

she said. M&M Jewelers was in Vestavia Hills for six years and had a store at the Shops of Colonnade for 18 years before that. “We have had some of our loyal customers for over 20 years and strive to satisfy, whether it Laura Robinson is a simple watch battery or an engagement ring purchase,” Robinson said. Robinson said she’s always been interested in jewelry design and working with colored stones and diamonds. She graduated from the Gemological Institute of America in California in 1987 and then worked for a large jewelry designer and manufacturer in South Carolina. “Then I returned to Birmingham and opened M&M Jewelers at the Shops of Colonnade,” Robinson said. M&M Jewelers is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit www. or call 991-0593. ❖

OTM Chambers Plan Luncheons, Special Events

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 31

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The Homewood Chamber of Commerce will host its annual meeting from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Main Ballroom at The Club in Homewood on Dec. 17. For more information, visit To: Jonathan and Kim or From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 call 871-5631. The Hoover Area Chamber ofFAX: 205-824-1246 Date: Oct. 2013 Commerce will host a luncheon at 11:15 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Hoover Country Club. This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for the Networking begins at 11:15 October 17, 2013 issue. Please email or fax approval or changes to 824-1246. a.m., and the luncheon begins at noon. For more information or to Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone numb Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. make reservations, visit www. if we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday., email or Thank you for your prompt attention. call 988-5672. ❖

Issis & Sons now has locations on Pelham Parkway, Greystone Boulevard, Cahaba Valley Road and U.S. 31 in Vestavia Hills. “We’ve gone from that first 1,000-square-foot space to four stores equal to about 200,000 square feet, and we offer everything from carpet and flooring to furniture and accessories,” Issis said. Issis said his children are too young to think about taking over the reins of the family business, but it’s something the father of three admits he has pondered. “It’s an opportunity for them, if that’s what they choose,” he said. “But yes, it would be pretty cool.” For more information on Issis & Sons, visit ❖

32 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Kaitlyn Pedicord, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 5th; McKenna Huie, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd; Elizabeth Gray, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd; Natalie Metcalf, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd; Hallie Young, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 1st. Second row: Olivia Griffith, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 2nd; Sophia Schefano, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd; Patrick Lyons, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 1st; Will Bond, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd; Summer Schepker, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 3rd. third row: Julie Dixon, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 5th; Mara Bray, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 1st; Rylie Ledbetter, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 2nd; Eleanor Roth, The Altamont School, 5th; Jewel Yelverton, The Altamont School, 5th. fourth row: Anna Collins, Rocky Ridge, 5th; Jamari Mosely, Rocky Ridge, 2nd; Jordan Austin, Rocky Ridge, 4th; Anna Kate Morris, Rocky Ridge, 5th; La’ Retha Elise Harper, Rocky Ridge, 3rd. fifth row: Ashna Gupta, Rocky Ridge, 5th; Sean Rodriguez, Rocky Ridge, 3rd; Natalia Gomez, Rocky Ridge, 2nd; Emma Slay, Rocky Ridge, 2nd; Katelyn Walsh, Rocky Ridge, 5th; Claire Dubois, Rocky Ridge, 4th. sixth row: Manny Ortega, Rocky Ridge, 5th; Abigail Pugh, Our Lady of Sorrows, 4th; Jordan Madison, Our Lady of Sorrows, 1st.


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First row, from left: Jordan Griffin, Our Lady of Sorrows, 3rd; Violetta Rohn, Our Lady of Sorrows, kindergarten; Mary Evins Tapley, Our Lady of Sorrows, 3rd; Charles Farr, Our Lady of Sorrows, 2nd. Second row: Isabella Huynh, Our Lady of Sorrows, 4th; Max McGwin, Our Lady of Sorrows, 4th; Samantha Magruder, Our Lady of Sorrows, 3rd; Brecken Tanner, Our Lady of Sorrows, kindergarten; Poppy Moellering, Our Lady of Sorrows, 2nd. third row: Weston Myers, Our Lady of Sorrows, 4th; Isabelle Willis, Our Lady of Sorrows, 2nd; Jimmy McMillan, Our Lady of Sorrows, 1st; Brodie Vicinanzo, Our Lady of Sorrows, 2nd. fourth row: Maggie Ball, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th; Katelynn Holt, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th; Bella Grace Baker, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th; Rachel DeFore, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th; Hannah Swearingen, Vestavia Hills Central, 4th. fifth row: Kailey Swancey and Betsy Glenn, Vestavia Hills Central, 5th; Camie Rafferty, Prince of Peace Catholic, 3rd; Anna Baleh, Prince of Peace Catholic, 4th; Peyton King, Prince of Peace Catholic, 1st; Jovi Zimmerman, Prince of Peace Catholic, kindergarten. sixth row: Claire Harrison, Prince of Peace Catholic, 4th; Hampton Irvine, Prince of Peace Catholic, 2nd.

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First row, from left: Elsberry Garrett, Brookwood Forest, 3rd; Sophie Claire Dixon, Brookwood Forest, 3rd; Mamie Hoke, Brookwood Forest, 3rd; Cate Lewis, Brookwood Forest, 3rd. second row: Emily Claire Wolnski, Brookwood Forest, 1st; Annikah Mishra, Advent Episcopal, 3rd; Blair Smith, Advent Episcopal, 5th; Emma Brown, Advent Episcopal, 4th; Phoebe Rominger, Advent Episcopal, 3rd. third row: Sela Trimm, Advent Episcopal, 4th; Miles Wadiche, Advent Episcopal, 3rd; Mark Thomas, Briarwood Christian, 3rd; Jieli Candler, Briarwood Christian, 4th; Joe Maxcy, Briarwood Christian, 4th. fourth row: Eva Tucker, Briarwood Christian, 4th; Caroline Minor, Edgewood, 2nd; Claire Gray, Edgewood, 2nd; Charlie Webb, Edgewood, 2nd; Grady Taylor, Edgewood, 1st. fifth row: Hutton Spears, Edgewood, 1st; Jack Bullock, Edgewood, 2nd; J.C. Daniel, Edgewood, 4th; Turner Gray, Edgewood, 2nd; Jake Stephens, Edgewood, 2nd. sixth row: Yousef Nassef, Edgewood, 4th; Lane Stephens, Edgewood, 4th; Sophie Rankin, Edgewood, 5th.


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First row, from left: Isabella Wood, Edgewood, 5th; Colton Cox, Edgewood, 1st; Lucy Jimenez Martinez, Edgewood, 2nd. second row: Ashley Wilmer, Deer Valley Elementary, 4th grade; Cade Carr, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd; Lily Grubb, Deer Valley Elementary, 2nd. third row: Lily Reece Howell, Deer Valley Elementary, kimdergarten; Maddie Roberts, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd; Stephanie Wilmer, Deer Valley Elementary, 1st. fourth row: Sumedha Annepu, Deer Valley Elementary, kindergarten; Sydney Stein, Deer Valley Elementary, 2nd; Ava Sparks, Deer Valley Elementary, 1st. fifth row: Julia Margaret Wright, Deer Valley Elementary, 4th grade; Lukas Fu, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd; Jaitia Cook, Deer Valley Elementary, kindergarten. sixth row Brittney McCarroll, Deer Valley Elementary, 4th grade; Ava Rector, Deer Valley Elementary, 4th grade.

36 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Abigail Ryan, Shades Cahaba, 1st; Jed Stone, Shades Cahaba, 5th; Caroline Griffin, Shades Cahaba, 2nd; Evelyn Crimi, Shades Cahaba, 2nd; Paola Amaya, Shades Cahaba, 4th. Second row: Raiven Hicks, Shades Cahaba, 5th; Lilly Billingsley, Shades Cahaba, 5th; Gabriel Kertesz, Shades Cahaba, 5th; Sophie Lowery, Shades Cahaba, 3rd; Aiyana Reardon, Shades Cahaba, 2nd. third row: Isabella Ponce, Shades Cahaba, 3rd; Jake Truitt, Shades Cahaba, 3rd; Van Sansing, Shades Cahaba, 2nd; Alex Cochrane, Shades Cahaba, 4th; Ellen Landy, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 5th. fourth row: Madison Peller, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 3rd; James Henry, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 1st; Lielle Berger, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 5th; Elad Sebbag, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, 4th; Alejandra Nanarrete, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th. fifth row: Hailey Davis, Shades Cahaba Elementary, 4th; Makena Muggeo, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 4th; Abby Wilson, Shades Cahaba Elementary, 5th; Luke Phelps, Shades Cahaba Elementary, 4th; Makenna Gamble, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 4th. sixth row: Poppi Christenberry, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th; William Slaughter, Shades Cahaba Elementary, kindergarten; Holland Melton, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th.


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First row, from left: Kate Methvin, Crestline Elementary, 4th; Emily Faircloth, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th; Lacee Sheaffer, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th; Reilly Deshazo, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 4th. second row: Eva Noojin, Crestline Elementary, 1st; Chloe Dillion, Crestline Elementary, 5th; Emma Grace Phillips, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 5th; Anne McKinley Walker, Crestline Elementary, 3rd. third row: Madison L’Hoste, Oak Mountain Intermediate, 4th; Annie Baird, Crestline, 5th; Hayden Graham, Crestline, kindergarten. fourth row: Mackenzie Ligon, Crestline, 3rd; Mary Dawson Gladney, Crestline, 4th; Mary Frances Springfield Crestline, 3rd. fifth row: Sarah Frances Walker, Crestline, 2nd; Lucy Ritter, Crestline, 2nd; Tiley Perrine, Crestline, 1st. sixth row Mary Frances Little, Crestline, 4th.



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38 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Bart Stephens, Crestline, 2nd; Olivia Hussey, Crestline, 1st; Wels Holman, Crestline, 4th; Michael Lorino, Crestline, 4th; Mary Dawson Gladney, Crestline, 4th. Second row: Crawford McDuffie, Crestline, 4th; Ally Williams, Crestline, 3rd; Miles McGilberry, Crestline, 3rd; Gili Weintraub, Crestline, 3rd; Marianna Averyt, Crestline, kindergarten. third row: Braden Page, Gwin, 1st; Juan Sanchez-Sema, Gwin, 4th; Ashlyn Bottom, Gwin, 2nd; Jay Briskin, Gwin, 2nd; Eliana Bachrach, Gwin, 3rd . fourth row: Reagan George, Gwin, 3rd; McKinley Bridges, Gwin, 1st; Tyson Batchelor, Gwin, 1st; Connor White, Gwin, 3rd; Madeline Spraul, Gwin, 2nd. fifth row: Nadeem Jaber, Gwin, 4th; Jennings Wilks, Gwin, kindergarten; Tore Crosby, Gwin, 2nd; Connor McLeod, Gwin, 1st; Keith Christein, Gwin, 3rd. sixth row: Cit la li Perez Torres, Gwin, 2nd; Victor Kyatt, Gwin, 1st; Grant Bonner, Gwin, 3rd; Jessica Vinson, Gwin, 1st.


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Get the inspiration you need to finally put those lights up with ‘Tis the Season. Red Mountain Theatre Company turns the heat up on the traditional holiday festivities this Dec. 5 – 22. Get your tickets today at or by calling 205-324-2424. You’ll be so full of holiday cheer your friends will start avoiding you.


TICKETS: 205-324-2424

First row, from left: Emmie Tidwell, Shades Mountain Elementary, 4th; Amelia Coxe, Shades Mountain Elementary, 1st; Hattie Morris, Shades Mountain Elementary, kindergarten. second row: Bella Collins, Shades Mountain Elementary, 1st; Lily Gurgans, Shades Mountain Elementary, 4th; Sarah Mott, Shades Mountain Elementary, 2nd. third row: Cecilia Pagan, Shades Mountain Elementary, 4th; Wade Coleman, Shades Mountain Elementary, 4th. fourth row: Ahaji Mock, Shades Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Alyssa Paige Barnes, Westminster School, 5th; Andrew Purcell, Westminster School, 5th. fifth row: Luke Richardson, Westminster School, 4th; Michael Rowland, Westminster School, 5th; Alina Wolnski, Westminster School, 4th. sixth row: Claire Eyrich, Westminster School, 5th.

40 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Parker Robbins, Westminster School, 4th; Annie Lusk, Westminster School, 4th; A. J. Piazza, Oak Mountain Elementary, 1st; Ashley Ames MaCrory, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Chloe Black, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd. Second Row: Luke Bishop, Oak Mountain Elementary, 1st; Hayley Datema, Oak Mountain Elementary, 1st; Riley Bowen, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd; Grace Payne, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd; Campbell Robb, Oak Mountain Elementary, 1st. third Row: Cameron Channell, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd; Ella Clark Murray, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Lexi Flowers, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Bennett Phillips, Oak Mountain Elementary, 2nd; Mallory Cameron, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd. fourth Row: Sankeerthana Kalva, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Tre Carlisle, Oak Mountain Elementary, 3rd; Ally Cross, South Shades Crest Elementary, 4th; Corrine McCaleb, South Shades Crest Elementary, 3rd; Maggie Daniel, South Shades Crest Elementary, 2nd. fifth Row: Carsyn Gibson, South Shades Crest Elementary, 3rd; Kylie Holiday, South Shades Crest Elementary, 1st; Lucas Steele, South Shades Crest Elementary, 4th; Walter Krzykalski, South Shades Crest Elementary, 3rd. sixth Row: Breanna Bules, South Shades Crest Elementary, 2nd; Tayla Sylvus, South Shades Crest Elementary, 1st.


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Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 41

What do you give someone who has everything?

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first Row: Rya McKinnon, South Shades Crest Elementary, 4th; Matt Kuwica, Highlands School, 1st; Adelia Crawford, Highlands School, 3rd; Caleb Rigdon, Shades Mountain Christian, kindergarten; Frances Vandevelde, Mountain Brook Elementary, 4th. second Row: Sela Komisar, Highlands School, 4th; Morganne Wever, Highlands School, 4th; Tess Barton, Highlands School, kindergarten; Michael Brewer, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 2nd; Baker Cullum, Mountain Brook Elementary, kindergarten. third Row: Katelyn Elrod, Highlands School, 2nd; Liam Crenshaw, Highlands School, 1st; Joshua Muse, Shades Mountain Christian, 2nd. fourth Row: William Lacy, Highlands School, 1st; Grey Battle, Highlands School, 4th; Lillian Rourk, Shades Mountain Christian, 3rd. fifth Row: Andrew Shaw, Shades Mountain Christian, 3rd; Erin Smith, Shades Mountain Christian, kindergarten; Maddie Bargainnier, Shades Mountain Christian, 4th. sixth Row: Zion Mims, Shades Mountain Christian, 1st.

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42 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Abraham Ocana, Green Valley Elementary, 2nd; Jennifer Lopez, Green Valley Elementary, 4th; Allie Sydney Allison Ford, Green Valley Elementary, 3rd, Allie Ford, Green Valley Elementary, 4th; Auryn Tillette, Green Valley Elementary, 2nd. Second Row: Gabriela Montano, Green Valley Elementary, 5th; Haley Robinson, Green Valley Elementary, 5th; Jaden Lipsey, Green Valley Elementary, 4th; Jamaria Morris, Green Valley Elementary, 3rd; Luke Tidwell, Green Valley Elementary, 5th; Macie Spivey, Green Valley Elementary, 3rd. third Row: Pippa Roy, Mountain Brook Elementary, 2nd; Bay Matthews, Mountain Brook Elementary, 4th; Bennett Coker, Mountain Brook Elementary, 4th; Davis Gray, Mountain Brook Elementary, 3rd; Sarah Cushman, Mountain Brook Elementary, 4th. fourth Row: Marshall McCraney, Mountain Brook Elementary, 5th; Mary Harbin Porter, Mountain Brook Elementary, Kindergarten; Mary Carolyn Sink, Mountain Brook Elementary, 5th; Gray Powell, Mountain Brook Elementary, 3rd; Anne Hardy Wilson, Mountain Brook Elementary, kindergarten. fifth Row: Alister Dupont, Mountain Brook Elementary, 2nd; Ingrid Smyer, Mountain Brook Elementary, 3rd; Mary Jim Doyle, Mountain Brook Elementary, 1st; Astin Starr, Greystone Elementary, 4th; Morgan Johnson, Greystone Elementary, 4th. sixth Row: Madison Dang, Greystone Elementary, 4th; Sara Allen, Greystone Elementary, 4th.


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Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 43

Mary Charles’ Doll House New, Collectible Antique Dolls 2820 Petticoat Lane Mtn. Brook Village 870-5544 Open Thur. - Sat. 10am - 4:30pm

To: From: Date:

Mary Charles Robbins Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax May 2010

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This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MO June 3, 2010 issue. Please fax approval or

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first Row: Abby Jams, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, kindergarten; Bernie Montes, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 5th; Gaines Johnson, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 3rd; Amelia Gentle, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 2nd. second Row: Sydney Velazauez, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 4th; Bailey Hutchinson, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 5th; Elizabeth McCarty, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 1st; Daniel Morin, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 1st. third Row: Tait Davidson, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 2nd; Cameron Marbut, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 3rd; Madison Brooks, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 4th; Lindsey Smith, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 4th. fourth Row: Garrett Long, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 5th; Ellie Fooshee, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 3rd; John Littleton, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 2nd. fifth Row: John Hendry, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 3rd; Kelcie Dowling, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 1st; Wills Perkinson, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 1st. sixth Row: Frank Lee, Cherokee Bend Elementary, 1st.

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44 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

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First row, from left: Audrey Irby, Cherokee Bend Elementary, Kindergarten; Parker Rogers, Cherokee Bend Elementary, Kindergarten; Caleb Bradley, Spring Valley School, E. Core; Grant Taylor, Spring Valley School, E. Core; Jackson Pickard, Spring Valley School, E. Core. Second row: Jana Sislack, Spring Valley School, E. Core; Alyssa Elliott, Edgewood Elementary, 5th; Drew Vinson, Edgewood Elementary, 3rd; Galina Wimberly, Edgewood Elementary, 5th; Cristina Hernandez, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 5th. third row: Graham Uldrich, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 3rd; Mary Margaret Ivy, Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park, 5th; Lola Salter, Mountain Brook Elementary, 1st; Jason Thompson, Mountain Brook Elementary, 2nd; Grayson Crowe, Mountain Brook Elementary, 1st. fourth row: Carter Dabbs, Shades Cahaba Elementary, 3rd; Colvin Bussey, Shades Cahaba Elementary, 1st; Lydia Clayton, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 1st; Madhumita Ravikumar, Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, 2nd; Emma Voytanovsky, Gwin Elementary, 1st. fifth row: Sandy Samadi, Gwin Elementary, 2nd; Don Williams, Gwin Elementary, 2nd; Caroline Bates, Crestline Elementary, 4th; Kennedy Knight, Crestline Elementary, 4th; Miller Brooks, Crestline Elementary, 1st. sixth row: Vance Phillips, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd; Carli Evans, Deer Valley Elementary, 3rd.

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 45



Making Music Her Mission Teen’s Christams CD Will Help Children’s of Alabama

By Ginny Cooper


Journal intern

hile 17-year-old Katie McGettigan has been told by several people that she has been blessed with a beautiful voice, you might not find the John Carroll Catholic High School senior in the spotlight very often. And that suits her just fine. With no desire to be the next big thing on “American Idol” or “The Voice,” the Meadow Brook resident instead chooses to use her voice to help others. McGettigan has recorded and released a Christmas CD to benefit Children’s of Alabama. The “Christmas Memories” CD so far has generated more than $1,000 for the hospital. McGettigan said she has been singing for as long as she can remember. “My parents put me in music class when I was 2, and I just never stopped singing,” she said. McGettigan’s love of music keeps her very busy, she said. She is president of her choir at John Carroll, involved in Birmingham’s Red Mountain Theater, takes voice lessons at Amy Murphy Studio in Mountain Brook and participates in a variety of activities with her church, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. “She’s so busy, we hardly ever see her,” her father Dan McGettigan said, laughing. McGettigan said she looks to other musicians for inspiration as she sings. “Natalie Weiss is so inspiring to me. She was a musical theater major at Penn State, and she’s probably the most talented person I’ve ever heard,” she said. As for Christmas music, McGettigan prefers Michael Bublé’s album, “Christmas.” “It’s my favorite Christmas album,” she said. McGettigan’s recording career began when her parents, Dan and Susan McGettigan, wanted to share her gift with relatives in different

parts of the country who did not have opportunities to hear her sing. To make this possible, her father made a Christmas CD to send to their extended family. He purchased 100 CDs and mailed them to family and friends. Soon after, he began receiving calls from people requesting copies, so he had more CDs produced. But the calls continued. “It was getting very expensive,” Dan McGettigan said. Last year, a recording studio contacted McGettigan and suggested that she should make another CD and market it rather than paying so much out of pocket. McGettigan agreed to the CD only if a percentage of the money would go to a charity. Though she loves to sing, McGettigan said that sometimes the recording process could be challenging. “I hate listening to myself! Having to sit there and listen to it replay in my head so that I could fix everything was really hard,” she said. The album, which features Christmas classics such as “Silver Bells” and “O Holy Night,” showcases McGettigan’s clear, perfectly pitched voice. She is accompanied softly by a variety of instruments and percussion. After a visit to Children’s of Alabama, McGettigan realized what she could do with her God-given talent. “I love the work they do there (at Children’s),” she said. “I love kids, too, so it just seemed like a good spot.” Her father called the hospital, which was embarking on some new fund raising programs.  “Although we had never tried it before, we loved the opportunity to work with Katie on this project,” said Emily C.I. Hornak, director of corporate partnerships and cause marketing at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  McGettigan plans to make appearances and perform at the hospital to promote the CD. John Carroll Principal Charlie McGrath said he praises Katie for her

From left: Emily C.I. Hornak of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Katie McGettigan and John Carroll Catholic High School Principal Charlie McGrath with some of the proceeds of McGettigan’s CD that she donated to Children’s of Alabama.

Katie McGettigan, a senior at John Carroll Catholic High School, has recorded a Christmas CD to benefit Children’s of Alabama. “Christmas Memories” features several holiday classics. Photos special to the Journal

work with the hospital. “Part of our mission at John Carroll is to help every student discover their God-given talent,” McGrath said. “By using the gifts that God has given her, Katie exemplifies the type of person who through her sense of conviction and faith in God can help bring about a just world.” McGettigan will attend college in

the fall, and though she is currently planning to attend the University of Alabama, her decision is not final until she finishes auditioning for other schools. She plans to pursue a degree in either musical theater or music education and said that she will never stop singing. “My favorite part about singing

is looking into the audience and seeing that one person that you’re really touching,” she said. McGettigan’s Christmas CD “Christmas Memories” can be purchased on iTunes or at Alpha Church Supply in Homewood. For more information on Katie’s CD, call 9810934. ❖

Mike A. Keller, DDS, PC Pediatric / Adolescent Dentistry Dr. Mike Keller, friends & staff are happy to recognize November members of the NO SUGAR BUG CLUB

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46 • Thursday, December 12, 2013

Patriotic Performance



VHEW Students Celebrate the Land They Love

Second-graders at Vestavia Hills Elementary West kicked off a special study of ancestry and immigration with a patriotic musical performance. The students staged “America: The Land We Love” Nov. 7 and 8 for their classmates, teachers and family members. The presentation included musical selections such as “Light the Torch, America,” “Put Your Hand on Your Heart” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” under the direction of the school’s music teacher, Trudye Confessore. Before the performances, the students researched their ancestry, determining the countries from which their ancestors immigrated. They selected a country and crafted costumes for the musical performances based on the clothing their relatives may have worn when they came to America. A variety of nationalities were represented by the children’s costumes, including the British Isles, many European nations and regions of Africa and Asia. During each performance, veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be recognized in appreciation of their service. The second-grade teachers at Vestavia Hills Elementary West are Lori Ambrose, Jennifer Burns, Laura Lee Charles, Andrea Coleman, Kim Evans, Laura Grote, Stacy Hein, Tara Adams Krusinski, Wendy Rigrish and Krista Welford. ❖

Cannon Cherry and Kynadee Parker.

Mallory Cowan played the role of Lady Liberty.

Students in the classes of Wendy Rigrish and Jennifer Burns perform in the VHEW second-grade musical. Photo special to the Journal

Evan Reese Lyas sings during the musical at VHEW.

Clark Dickerson and George Phillips.

School Notes Greystone Elementary School students competed in the sectional competition of the NFL Punt, Pass, Kick contest in Chattanooga. From left: Kenna Burdett, Nicholas Dunlap, Josh Harrington and Kaleigh Rice. Photo special to the Journal

Greystone PPK Winners Compete in Chattanooga Four students from Greystone Elementary School in Hoover recently traveled to Chattanooga, Tenn., to compete in the sectional level of the NFL’s Punt, Pass and Kick Competition. The students were selected to represent their school after winning at the school-level competition. The sectional event included participants from Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky. For the second year in a row, Nicholas Dunlap finished in first place in his age division at the sectional competition. Kaleigh Rice, Josh Harrington and Kenna Burdett all finished in fourth place in their age divisions.

“I am extremely proud of how our students performed at the sectionals,” said Rand Payton, Greystone Elementary’s PE teacher. “There is a lot of pressure for these young students performing in front of many more people and on a bigger field than they were accustomed to at Greystone.”

Homewood Rotary Club Donates Dictionaries Third-graders in Homewood City Schools now have a new resource for learning, thanks to the Homewood Rotary Club. The club recently donated dictionaries to every third-grader in the Homewood school system. Rotary club members visited HallKent Elementary School and Edgewood

Elementary School to distribute the dictionaries. They encouraged the students to write their names in their dictionaries to show ownership and emphasized that the dictionaries are the students’ personal possessions. The students can take the dictionaries Hall-Kent Elementary School third-graders check out home with them the new dictionaries they received from the Homewood or keep them at Rotary Club. Photo special to the Journal school.

Liberty Park Middle Students Study Germs Students at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills prepared for the cold and flu season with lessons on microbiology and germs. The seventh-grade science and prealgebra classes teamed up for the joint study. Guest presenters were Bill and Linda Jeff, microbiologists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the parents of Jonathan Jeff, a math teacher at the school. Bill Jeff used glitter when shaking hands or lending a pencil to a student to show how diseases and viruses are passed through human contact.

Linda Jeff then used the metric system to describe how scientists measure bacterial colonies. A week before the presentation, 24 pairs of students swabbed surfaces through the school and transferred the germs to blood agar plates. Linda Jeff incubated the plates, and LPMS staff members and students were surprised to see what was lurking on doorknobs, lockers and faucets. Groups of 10 students were given cups of clear liquid and asked to “share fluids,” unaware that one cup was harboring an infection. After the activity, students were given a drop of an indicator, turning “infected” cups yellow and “healthy” cups pink, showing how rapidly an infection can spread. 

Linda Jeff also advised the students on the best ways to stay healthy and germ-free.

Crestline Teacher Cited for JUNA Work at UN Day A teacher at Crestline Elementary School in Mountain Brook was recently honored for her work with the Junior United Nations Assembly. Julia Peterson, the school’s Program for Academically Gifted Education teacher, was honored at the Birmingham United Nations Julia Peterson Day Banquet at The Club in Homewood on Oct. 17. During her 14 years with JUNA, Peterson has taught hundreds of children how to think more deeply about the world and their place in it. Peterson said she enjoys teaching music, traveling and playing with her grandchildren. Peterson was congratulated on her honor by Ilse Diasio, JUNA chapter president. For the past 22 years, JUNA has sought to increase awareness of worldwide issues.

Homewood High and Homewood Middle School students competed at a Special Olympics meet in Trussville in October. Photo special to the Journal

Homewood Competes in Special Olympics Meet

Student athletes from Homewood Middle and Homewood High School recently competed in an annual Special Olympics meet in Trussville. To send them off with good wishes, teachers and students gathered in the schools’ hallways to cheer for the

OLS Students Give Back During Holiday Season The holiday season of giving began early for students at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School. The school participated in a weeklong food drive for Thanksgiving called Dinner in a Bag in addition to a special donation project for Operation Christmas Child. “Part of our school’s mission statement expresses service to others, and that is what our students try to embrace in these projects of service for those less fortunate than themselves,” Principal Mary Jane Dorn said. “It gives the students the opportunity to learn how they can help others, not only as individuals but as a school community as well.” For Dinner in a Bag, Piggly Wiggly supermarkets provided grocery bags for students to use to collect grocery items for families in need. Numerous bags with non-perishable, canned and boxed items were collected by the students for the Catholic Center of Concern, a faith-based organization working with ecumenical and interfaith networks to help those in need in the Birmingham area. The center distributes the goods in the community. Operation Christmas Child is a “shoebox” project designed by Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian evangelism and relief organization that provides physical and spiritual help to victims of natural disaster, war, poverty and disease.

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 47



Special Olympics athletes on their way to the competition. The schools’ bands played, cheerleaders cheered and students, teachers and staff members held out their hands to offer “high fives” of encouragement to the Special Olympics participants. ❖

The students donated shoeboxes filled with age-specific gifts such as toiletries, school supplies and toys for underprivileged children.

poem, “Mi Sueño Soñaba Un Sueño” (“My Dream Was Dreaming a Dream”) and then created illustrations including Spanish texts explaining what they each were dreaming as part of a visual display in the school hallway. The learning objectives for the unit were to enhance verbal and written expression through recitation of materials written for native Spanish speakers and original creative expressions written by each student. “I want to visit Argentina,” one student said. Another third-grader said that “My dreams dream in Spanish.” Amy Nichols is the Spanish teacher at Saint Francis Xavier School.

wrote a script outlining the Outdoor Classroom history and purpose. Guests at the Outdoor Classroom Social were given a guided walking tour during the evening. Students also designed a scavenger hunt to get everyone moving and learning about outdoor habitats and plant life. With guidance from coaches, Simmons Middle School students have been students led the guests in fun named to the All-State Orchestra. From exercises to give a preview of left: Anna Ayers, Joseph Phillips and Jamie Family Fitness Night. Gregg. Photo special to the Journal Chef Brad of Hoover Country Club created a healthy salad of fruits and vegetables for the event, and Chastain Farms showed produce and Three students at Hoover’s Simmons methods of preparation. Dayspring Dairy Middle School were recently selected as provided samples of cheeses made members of the All-State Orchestra. with sheep’s milk. Bluff Park resident Eighth-graders Joseph Phillips and Kurt Kristensen shared information on Jamie Gregg and seventh-grader Anna beekeeping and raising chickens. Ayers will perform with the All-State Earth Fare donated produce for the Orchestra at the University of Alabama students to use to make edible fruit in February. sculptures. Also lending a hand at the Phillips plays the cello. Gregg and event were the Hoover Belles, Girl Scout Ayers both play the violin. ❖ Troop 91 and Cub Scout Pack 321.

Simmons Musicians Make All-State Orchestra

Give the Gift of CHEER

First-graders Learn Fire Safety in Mountain Brook Saint Francis Xavier third-grade students ponder their Spanish lesson. From left: Lily Watts, Brigid Sullivan and Elliot Fletcher. Photo special to the Journal

Saint Francis Students Dream in Spanish Third-graders at Saint Francis Xavier School could be dreaming in Spanish after their recent studies on Argentina. The students recently studied the works of Argentine author and illustrator Douglas Wright as part of a cultural study of Argentina in their Spanish class. Students first memorized the

OLS students had a Thanksgiving food drive for the Catholic Center for Concern. Front, from left: Morgan Scott, Ty Sephaphathi, Jake Fridley, Catherine Agena and Tess Gardner. Back: Matthew Gadilhe, Jackson Foster, Ryan Kelner, Reggie Smith and Ryan Stewart. Photo special to the Journal

During National Fire Prevention Month in October, students at one Mountain Brook elementary school got a chance to talk to the experts. First-graders from Brookwood Forest Elementary School went to the Mountain Brook Fire Station at the new Mountain Brook Municipal Complex Oct. 23 to learn about the importance of fire safety. Students from the classes of Colleen Keyes, Rachael Meriweather, Amelia Stimpson and Mandy Smith toured the station, learned how to prevent fires and then topped off the outing with some play time at Overton Park.

Bluff Park Elementary Hosts Outdoor Social The Bluff Park Elementary School community came together recently to celebrate ecology, technology, healthy living, gardening, research and community connections at the Bluff Park Outdoor Classroom Social. The school hosted the event on Oct. 24 as a culmination of weeks of study, planning and preparation by students, staff and volunteers. During the first nine weeks of school, classrooms completed projects based on Alabama commodities and learned about state ties to agriculture and the history of the scarecrow. Each grade level had a featured speaker and topic. Fifth-grade students working on the Bluff Park Eco School project

To: From: Date:

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48 • Thursday, December 12, 2013



Mitchell’s Place Holds Seminar for Parents A recent event hosted by Mitchell’s Place sent parents and educators back to school. Mitchell’s Place, a comprehensive treatment center for Mitchell’s Place recently held a seminar for parents and educators. From left: children and families Patrick McGreevy, Nicole Mishkin, Gunter Owens and Troy Fry. affected by autism, Photo special to the Journal consultant to school districts, residential programs hosted a workshop and private schools in North America and Western in September to train and educate practitioners and Europe. parents on a new assessment and curriculum. Fry is a board certified behavior analyst who for Called “Essential for Living,” the curriculum is the past 22 years has worked in public and private available throughout the United States and in some schools, centers, clinics, home programs, hospitals parts of the U.K., Spain and France. and residential programs throughout North America. Two of the authors of “Essential for Living,” Through “Essential For Living,” McGreevy and Dr. Patrick McGreevy and Troy Fry, came from Fry say they aim to fill a critical gap for those who Florida and Minnesota respectively to conduct the work with children and adults with disabilities by workshop.  providing practitioners, educators and parents with More than 30 participants, including speech a method for selecting and teaching functional skills therapists, board certified behavior analysts, and behaviors.  psychologists, educators and parents, traveled from For more information about the authors and Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and from curriculum, visit  across Alabama to attend. For more information about Mitchell’s Place and McGreevy is a board certified behavior analyst its programs, visit who has spent the past 30 years serving as a

Eighth-grade Volleyball All Metro Players of the Year

Photo special to the Journal

Eighth-grade volleyball players named All Metro Players of the Year were Marlee Johnson and Peyton Gober of Berry; Anna Gilstrap and Gabi Barron of Bumpus; Malorie McBride and Sam Hulsey of Bragg; Mekaila Hill and Darci Champion of Clay; Alaina Tinsley and Kaitlyn McDaniel of Hewitt-Trussville; Ellie Burkhalter and Taylor Gurram of Homewood; Merritt Cahoon and Holly McDaniel of Liberty Park; Layne Stone and Sydney Carlson of Mountain Brook; Caelis Wendel and Cameron Rueschenberg of Oak Mountain; Anna Langley and Sarah Cain of Pizitz; Katie Rosato and Jamie Gregg of Simmons; and Jenni Beth Cox and Suzanne Miller of Thompson. Jodie Ferguson from Oak Mountain and Bruce Henricks from Mountain Brook were named Coaches of the Year.

Little Rebels Place at State Cheer Contest

The Little Rebels cheerleading team placed fifth in a recent state youth cheer championship event in Vestavia Hills. Front, from left: Anna Carlisle Worrell, Madison McGill, Riley Graham, Katherine Arnold and Anne Lauren Ermert. Middle: Carlisle Barranco, Virginia Buchanan, Taylor Wisdom and Julia Kate Williams. Back: Olivia Durham, Kailey Swancey, Lucy Kracke, Abbie Bullock, Abby Ferguson and Emma Ledbetter. Photo special to the Journal

The fifth-grade Little Rebels cheerleading competition team recently won fifth place at a state event. The squad placed in the Universal Cheerleaders Association Alabama Youth Cheer Championships Nov. 17 at Vestavia Hills High School. In the individual competition, Riley Graham won first place, Anna Carlisle Worrell won fifth place and Madison McGill won seventh place. Other members of the team are Olivia Durham, Kailey Swancey, Lucy Kracke, Abbie Bullock, Abby Ferguson, Emma Ledbetter, Carlisle Barranco, Virginia Buchanan, Taylor Wisdom, Julia Kate Williams, Katherine Arnold and Anne Lauren Ermert.

Seventh-grade Volleyball All Metro Players of the Year

Seventh-grade volleyball players named All Metro Players of the year were Maddie Dease and Mallory Smith from Berry; Jade Skelton and Grace Harris from Bumpus; Savannah Pennington and Karlee Mayfield from Bragg; Taylor Burrell and Tori Pitts from Clay; Anna Virginia Fagan and Molly Cobb from Hewitt-Trussville; Amelia Davis and Audrey Nabors from Homewood; Grace Uldrich and Annabelle Bridges from Liberty Park; Caroline Decker and Ellen Dulin of Mountain Brook; Kirsty Mullaly and Maddie Moss of Oak Mountain; Mary Quinn Carter and Hannah Vines from Pizitz; Brooke Hoven and Mackenzie Martin from Simmons; and Mikayla Touhey and Kiara Booker of Thompson. Becky Boykin from Hewitt-Trussville was named Coach of the Year.

Eighth-grade Football All Metro Players of the Year

Seventh-grade Football All Metro Players of the Year

Photo special to the Journal

The seventh-grade football players named 2013 Metro South Players of the Year were Daris Robinson, Brody Richey, Josh Wallace and Coby Gordon from Berry; Hunter Stokes, Jacob Wright, Tim Roberts and Andrew Whalen from Bragg; Daniel Swatek, Larry McCammon, Jacquez Allen and Peyton Wilson from Bumpus; DeMarcus Burris, Drew Heller, Logan Pruett and Alfred Thomas from Clay; Antonio Reed, Caden Kirk, Christian Renda and Daniel Harris from Hewitt-Trussville; Caleb Cunningham, Larkin Williams, David Robertson and Antoine McGhee from Homewood; Sean Smyth, Gaines Berry, Josh Silverman and Jack Silverman from Liberty Park; Price Pewitt, Colton Yeager, Robert Reed and Grant Griffin from Mountain Brook; Jackson Kimbrell, Dane Moody, Luke Percer and Noah Brown from Oak Mountain; Rob Barrentine, Johnathan Williams, Don’Tarrius Crenshaw and Cooper Bishop from Pizitz; Drew Grindle, Andrew Sasser, Ryan Lee and David Wrona from Simmons; and Shadrick Byrd, Eric Mizell, Derek Hussey and Kodie Robertson from Thompson.

Photo special to the Journal

Photo special to the Journal

The eighth-grade football players named 2013 Metro South Players of the Year were Braxton Baker, D’Arie Johnson, Jake Long and Austin Muir from Berry; Michael Crowder, Austin Gooch, Peyton Godfrey and Stephen Lancaster from Bragg; Vonte Brackett, Michael Maye, Nick Davis and Khamari Brown from Bumpus; Demarkes Davis, Roderick McCloud, Jamarlin Sewell and Keyounte Moultrie from Clay; Davis Burgin, Lee Reagan, Grant Howard and Elliott McElwain from Hewitt-Trussville; CarDamien Daniels, Kamren Amerson, Trent Owens and Jackson Griggs from Homewood; Andrew Knight, Nick Thompson, Earl Bradberry and Mitchell Kundler from Liberty Park; Hamp Sisson, Aubrey Hart, Clay Stearns and Joe Bird from Mountain Brook; Ethan Duncan, Jackson Murphy, Ke’Lontae Varner and Nick Markus from Oak Mountain; William Schaffield, Coleman Petway, Asher Hamilton and Spencer Lawson from Pizitz; Nolan Hammonds, Marion Humphrey, Max Garvey and Warren Godwin from Simmons; and Joseph Ford, K.J. Robertson, Grant Bivins and Seth Whitlock from Thompson.

OTMJ wishes you a safe and happy holiday season! Look for our first issue of the year on Jan. 9th!

Comeback, Again Hoover Overcomes Rebels, Heads to Finals By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer

You only think that Auburn University’s epic win in the Iron Bowl was the biggest comeback of Thanksgiving weekend. Actually, one that took place the previous night was just as big–if not quite so last second–and the ramifications were far and wide. Trailing archrival Vestavia Hills 28-10 early in the third period, homestanding Hoover battled back with three touchdowns to take a 31-28 win. The victory sent the Bucs into the Class 6A championship game against Auburn High School at Tuscaloosa’s BryantDenny Stadium on Dec. 6. The game winner came with three minutes to play, when Hoover quarterback Jack Hutcheson passed 17 yards to

Vestavia Outfielder Makes All-American Team

A Vestavia Hills High School senior has been named to the 2014 Power Showcase All-American Baseball Team. John Thomas Pietrantoni, (pictured below) an outfielder for the Rebels, will represent Alabama at the event, set for Jan. 2-5 at Miami’s Marlins Stadium. The Power Showcase includes a home run derby as well as a game. The event will feature 120 amateur athletes from around the world. Players are chosen based on their abilities, power, scout references and performances in high school games and showcase tournaments, according to Power Showcase officials. Pietrantoni also plays for Coach Steve Gendron’s Excel Travel Team. He is a right-handed pitcher as well as an outfielder. Tommy Walker, Vestavia’s head baseball coach, said that while Pietrantoni is a very good baseball player, he’s an “even better person off the field.”  At Vestavia, Pietrantoni has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society and the National Honor Society. He is a member of VHHS Youth Leadership and the Mayor’s Teen Council. Pietrantoni also is a member of the Literacy Club and the Key Club and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. “From a coaching standpoint, J.T. has been fun to coach,” Walker said. “He is very conscientious and is an extremely hard worker. J.T. is always trying to do what I am coaching him to do and is a great teammate to others. “He is a great young man, and I am honored to be his coach. He will be a great representative of Power Showcase.”

Leonard Wood for the go-ahead touchdown. The Bucs began the drive at Vestavia’s 39-yard line after fair-catch interference was called on the Rebels after a punt. After the score, Hoover grimly hung on to run its record to 14-0 and claim its 29th consecutive victory. The Bucs’s rousing comeback stood in stark contrast to the pair’s first meeting in September, where Hoover ground out a defense-dominated 17-7 victory. “I’m proud of our kids, because if you are going to be a champion, you have to persevere,” said Hoover coach Josh Niblett. “Tonight we made the big plays when we had to have them.” The night started as if it might be a routine Buccaneer victory. Bradrick Shaw’s five-yard touchdown and Hunter Schmith’s extra point gave Hoover 7-0 lead with 5:41 remaining in the opening period.

Bradrick Shaw picks up tough yardage in Hoover’s 31-28 win over Vestavia. Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Vestavia fought back. Rebel quarterback Landon Crowder scored on an eight-yard run. Jack Hatchett’s kick tied the game as the quarter ended.

Photo special to the Journal

Mountain Brook High School softball player Rebecca Blitz will be a member of Indiana University’s 2015 team. Blitz signed a National Letter of Intent with IU on Nov. 13. The Spartan centerfielder and leadoff batter was a 2013 All-State first team selection and was named to the Spain Park Jaguar Classic AllTournament Team. She led her Mountain Brook team with a .541 batting average, .566 onbase percentage and 40 stolen bases. Blitz was named to the 2012 All Over the Mountain team and All-

The Rebels used a blocked punt to set up another score. Jordan Johnson’s five-yard touchdown run put Vestavia ahead 14-7 early in the second period. Undaunted, Hoover marched to the Rebels’ 17-yard line, where Schmith booted a 34-yard field goal and cut the visitors’ lead to 14-10. Johnson scored again, this time on a 45-yard dash, to give Vestavia a 21-10 halftime advantage. The Rebels’ momentum continued early in the third quarter. Christian Palmer’s eight-yard touchdown stretched Vestavia’s lead to 28-10 with 10:36 left in the third quarter. Hoover began its comeback surge when Shaw scored his second touchdown on a four-yard run with four minutes remaining in the period. Schmith’s extra point cut the margin to 28-17. A stifling Buccaneer defense quickly forced the Rebels to punt, and Hoover struck again. Hutcheson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Carden cut the margin to 28-23 with 1:07 to play in the third period. A two-point attempt failed, and Vestavia’s lead had narrowed

to 28-23. The stage was set for the game-winning score. After Hoover took the lead, Vestavia moved to the Bucs’ 49-yard line before a series of penalties helped end the Rebels’ hopes of an upset. Vestavia finished the season 11-3, and legendary Rebel coach Buddy Anderson ended the year with 308 career wins. Anderson wasn’t looking for moral victories when the evening ended. “We came to win,” he said. “Hoover has a great football team, and our guys gave great effort. Our team can compete with anybody. I’d go to battle with them anytime.” Niblett must have felt the same way about his team, as it once again had reached another Class 6A championship game. “I always believed in our team,” said Hutcheson, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 181 yards. “I’ve got so many great players around me. It’s hard to know what to say right now.” He could have said that Hoover’s time may have arrived again.

solidify our outfield,” Gardner said in the release. “Her versatility at the plate will put pressure on opposing defenses.” Blitz is the daughter of Jann and Russ Blitz of Mountain Brook. Her high school coaches are Kaitlyn Griffin and Leslie Batts.

Mountain Brook High School softball player Rebecca Blitz at her signing with parents Russ and Jann Blitz.

Blitz Signs with Indiana University

Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 49



Send sports to: South/All-Hoover team. She has played on the Mountain Brook varsity squad since seventh grade. She has been the team’s starting centerfielder and leadoff batter for the past five years. Blitz has also played on travel/ club teams during the summer and fall seasons, most recently on the Birmingham Thunderbolts team. The Thunderbolts play in tournaments across the United States, including Florida, Colorado, New Jersey and California. In a press release issued by Indiana University, Michelle Gardner, IU head softball coach, said Blitz’s speed on the base paths will be an asset to the Hoosiers’ lineup. “This speedster from Alabama will

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50 • Thursday, December 12, 2013




From back cover

when the offense is struggling. Hoover netted only 138 total yards and six first downs but still won by more than two touchdowns. “The only statistic I know is that we are 15-0 and won a state title,” Niblett said. “That’s all that matters.” His team’s first opportunity came late in the first quarter. With Auburn punting on a fourth-and-seven at its 28-yard line, Micah Bagley blocked Justin Farmer’s punt. Chris DeMoss recovered the ball in the end zone for the touchdown. Hunter Schmith’s extra point gave the Bucs a 7-0 at the end of the period. “Micah is a guy who has made a lot of big plays for us,” Niblett said. “It was good to see him make a big play like that when he’s worked hard all year to put himself in that position.” Neither team could generate a significant offensive threat in the second quarter, and Hoover’s slim lead stood up until halftime. Auburn appeared capable of making a game of it early in the third quarter. The Tigers forced a Hoover punt and drove to the Bucs’ 18-yard line. Sage Ledbetter’s 35-yard field goal cut the margin to 7-3 with 6:53 remaining in the stanza. Hoover got a break later in the quarter when Farmer fumbled the snap on a punt attempt, giving the Bucs the ball at Auburn’s 27. Hoover couldn’t capitalize as Schmith’s 39-yard field goal attempt fell short. Any momentum the Tigers may have generated didn’t last long. Hoover’s Marlon Humphrey stripped Auburn’s Tyrus Flakes of the ball, and Bagley recovered at the Tigers’ 41. “Every Tuesday in practice, we call it ‘Turnover Tuesday,’ and we try to force turnovers any way we can,” Humphrey said later. “This one wound up being a big play for us.” Hoover exploited the opportunity three plays later. Quarterback Jack Hutcheson dumped a short pass to

Bradrick Shaw, who raced 39 yards for the touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, but the Bucs led 13-3 with 1:56 on the clock in the third period. The final dagger to Auburn’s championship hopes came early in the fourth quarter. Humphrey returned a punt 18 yards to the Tiger 38. After a personal foul penalty moved the ball to the 23, Hoover methodically drove to the goal. Shaw’s one-yard run on fourth down gave the Bucs their final 20-3 margin. Hutcheson completed four of nine

passes for 51 yards. Shaw gained 53 yards on the ground on 21 carries as Hoover totaled only 138 yards. As Niblett kept saying, this game wasn’t about numbers. “We could have gained 138 yards or 13.8 yards,” he said. “This was a slugfest. There was tough sledding inside the box for both sides.” The coach may not be a big numbers guy, but there were some digits that have to impress anyone. In addition to 30 straight victories and two consecutive championships, Hoover has now played in the Class 6A cham-


From back cover

Perhaps that’s why Hoover coach Josh Niblett’s words in the wake of his Bucs’ 20-3 win over Auburn for their second consecutive Class 6A football championship were so surprising. “We came out this year and said our biggest thing and our definition of greatness is to do things better than they have ever been done before,” Niblett said in the press room at Bryant-Denny Stadium Friday night. “Two years back-to-back 15-0 seasons. Also, two back-to-back championships. I’d like to say that is better than it has ever been done before.” Those are pretty strong words, particularly from Niblett, who usually leaves the historic comparisons to sportswriters. Niblett wasn’t bragging on himself, but he was offering a lofty vision of what Hoover’s season–by its own definition of success–was all about. The question is, was the coach correct in his assessment? And if he was, where in the world does Hoover

go from here? Look no further than Hoover’s own recent past to find the answers. Under Niblett’s predecessor, Rush Propst, the Bucs won six titles, including four in row from 2002-05. But only one of those teams, the 2004 edition, finished 15-0. If there has been one school in the area that has been a thorn in Hoover’s side during the incredible run, it’s been the Vestavia Hills Rebels. Coach Buddy Anderson’s squad defeated Propst’s Bucs four times on the field and one additional time due to an Alabama High School Athletic Association-sanctioned forfeit. Niblett’s teams have lost to Vestavia only once and currently have a six-game winning streak in the series. The other area where the present era gets the edge is in off-the-field drama. Under Niblett, there isn’t any. For all of Propst’s merits as a coach, Hoover’s program under his watch was often a soap opera, whether MTV

cameras were present or not. Niblett’s back-to-the-basics approach has served his program–and the community at large–well. So if you accept the premise that nobody’s done it better than Hoover in 2012-13, what’s the end game? Maybe there isn’t one, largely because Niblett and Hoover don’t want it to end. “A lot of people think that (Hoover’s success) just happens, but it doesn’t,” the coach said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into this. Sacrifice and commitment have been made by our kids and staff to have the opportunity to achieve greatness.” Hoover, of course, doesn’t have a monopoly on dedication and hard work. Almost all high school coaches–if they expect to have a decent career–work extremely hard all year. And plenty of kids at football programs all over Alabama work just as hard as Hoover’s young men. But the Bucs have the perfect storm–top flight facilities, a large

Clockwise from above left: Hoover’s Dylan Ackerson brings down Auburn’s Bradley Northcutt; Darrell Williams stops a Tiger runner as Jason McCay (41) and Chandler Coskery (25) close in; Buc quarterback Jack Hutcheson; Hoover fans celebrate another state title. Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

pionship game every year since 2008– Niblett’s first season at the helm. After winning the title in 2009, Hoover lost the championship game by one point each in the next two seasons. You can make the case that the Bucs are four points away from five consecutive state championships. As it is, Hoover has compiled a mind-numbing 84-6 worksheet under Niblett. That’s a winning percentage of 93 percent. Perhaps just as significantly if not more subjectively, he has achieved the nearly impossible task of inheriting one of the best high school programs in the nation from former coach Rush Propst–and making it better than ever. So how much better can Hoover get? Nobody knows, but just like that other team that wins so much at student body from which to draw athletes and yes, financial resources, along with tradition and work ethic–to make the program nearly invincible. You can’t be any better than 15-0, but you can have the tools to come close to duplicating that record almost every year. And Hoover clearly does. The best news for the Bucs’ opponents is that they are improving, too. Facilities at virtually every Over the Mountain school are much better than even just a few years ago. And coaching is improving everywhere. “Back when I first got into coaching, we always believed that if you worked hard, everything would be fine,” said former Mountain Brook coach Robert Higginbotham. “But if you look around now, the guys in high school coaching are really smart. It becomes more of a thinking man’s game every year.” Hoover is ahead of everybody today. What could slow it down? Complacency? That’s possible, but under Niblett’s watch, very unlikely. Shifting demographics, such as the building of a third high school in

Bryant-Denny Stadium, don’t expect the Bucs to be going away anytime soon. Hoover? Again, that might happen, but not anytime soon. Nothing lasts forever, and Hoover isn’t going to go undefeated every season. But it’s going to take a very special program having an extraordinary season to knock Hoover off its perch. In other words, the program that dethrones Hoover is going to look a lot like Hoover. Going Swimmingly…

Spain Park senior Will Freeman ended his high school career on a high note in last week’s Alabama High School State Swimming and Diving Meet at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center at Auburn University. Freeman won the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events for the third time in three years. If that’s not enough, Freeman is also a finalist for the 2013 High School Heisman and will be honored in New York City later this month. Madeline Held, also a senior at Spain Park, is a Heisman finalist as well. Freeman plans to swim for the University of Alabama this fall.

holidaySAlES EVENT sports




Thursday, December 12, 2013 • 51



Thursday, december 12, 2013


Middle school All Metro volleyball and football teams announced P. 48

State Champs! Lee Davis

Over the Top Where Does Hoover Go from Here? Buc running back Bradrick Shaw.

Hoover High School claimed their second consecutive 6A state championship trophy with their win over Auburn 20-3 Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. More photos at Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

Color by Numbers

Hoover Uses Big Plays To Earn Second Straight Crown By Lee Davis

Hoover coach Josh Niblett as he dried off from a cold Gatorade bath he had received minutes earlier. “Everyone did a tremendous job. I can’t say enough about our seniors. They left a great legacy for a program that is already filled with tradition.” Unlike earlier victories, the Bucs didn’t pile up eye-popping numbers in overcoming the Tigers. They relied on big plays and timely defense. “I couldn’t care less about the statistics,” Niblett said. “This was two great defenses going against each other. It was going to take a total team effort for us to win, and that’s exactly what happened.” Total team play means winning a game even

Journal Sports Writer

Many championship teams have played at Bryant-Denny Stadium over the past nine decades. Most of them defeated a team from Auburn, Ala., in the process. The latest to check both boxes turned the trick Friday night as the Hoover Bucs defeated Auburn High School 20-3, earning their second consecutive Class 6A title and eighth since 2000. The Bucs dominated the season in a way few teams have done previously, posting a perfect 15-0 record and extending their winning streak to 30 consecutive games. “I’m so proud of our kids and coaches,” said

See Hoover, page 50

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ost coaches by nature tend to be understated and even demure when it comes to discussing their teams and their accomplishments. Part of that may come from natural modesty, but some of it also is like a prod–never say anything is the best, because you can always do better.

See bucs, page 50

Dec 12 full issue  
Dec 12 full issue