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The Suburban Newspaper for Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County




INSIDE Hoover woman reinvents her art— and herself


VOL. 22 #2

HOMETOWN HEADLINER Redstone Club marks 105th year with annual Christmas Ball SOCIAL PAGE 15

Star turn for Hollywood house HOME PAGE 22

News anchor and Mountain Brook resident Mike Royer will share some of the stories he has collected in his more than 35-year career in television with those attending the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerceʼs annual luncheon on Feb. 7 at The Club. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Mike Royer Will Be Keynote Speaker at Mountain Brook Chamber Event BY KEYSHA DREXEL



ike Royer has done a lot of public speaking in his almost 40-year career in television, but the award-winning news anchor says his next speaking engagement might be tough. Mike, the co-anchor of Alabama’s 13 newscasts and producer of “The Spirit of Alabama,” will be the keynote speaker at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon on Feb. 7 at The Club. He has emceed the event twice before but said this is his first time as the luncheon’s keynote speaker. “This could be a challenge because I can


Hear from Mike

Mike Royer will speak at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s annual Chamber Luncheon. When: Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m. at The Club. Register: Call 871-3779 or visit www.welcometomountainbrook. com for more information and to reserve a seat.

fly out to Omaha and those people haven’t heard all my stories. I’ll be speaking on the home court here, and most people here have heard my stories,” he said. Mike said he rarely speaks to groups without sharing some of the inspiring stories he has heard during his career in television. He said hearing those stories and sharing them is what he likes best about his job. “My favorite part of the job is meeting the people I get to feature in ‘Spirit of Alabama’ because the people I meet challenge me and inspire me to do better,” he said. “They come from completely different walks of life most of the time, and I feel really lucky to have met them and to be able to share their stories.”

See ROYER, page 8

Free-range chickens for your backyard HOME PAGE 23

OTM students ace ACT



2 • Thursday, January 24, 2013



OFF TO A BUSY START From a State of the City Address and the celebration of business anniversaries to the introduction of debutantes, the start of the new year has been a busy one in Over the Mountain communities. In this issue, we hear from the first woman to be the mayor of Mountain Brook. On page 9, Margaret Porter talks about her political career and the past and future of the city she served. We also have the latest from Homewood’s mayor. On page 13, Mayor Scott McBrayer talks about the state of the city. The Mardi Gras season is just around the corner and that means it is almost time for the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball. On page 14, meet the young ladies to be presented next month.

ON OTMJ.COM It may be cold outside but the OTM social scene is as hot as ever! Check out our coverage of the latest and greatest parties and events online.


In our next issue, we’ll have an audience with the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball King and get his thoughts on the annual tradition. Plus, we’ll have ideas to make your Valentine’s Day a sweet success.


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January 24, 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 Vol. 22, No. 2


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.

Face It


Crackle and Pop, show a little restraint. don’t care who you are. I’m not Cyber-pleading makes you look desgoing to like you. perate. Besides, you don’t even know On Facebook, I mean. I resisted me. You have no idea what my opinion even joining for a good long time, is worth. I might be using my Rice thinking of it only as a short-lived Krispies to make life-size models of “look at me” venue, which did not serial killers. How would you like that? appeal to me at all. Not that I have anyIt just seems so seventh grade. I use thing to hide. My life is an open book. that term a lot because if you’re like The problem is, it would never be a me, seventh grade was a year of painful bestseller. social negotiation. “Like me, like me.” According to my daughter (my We could have printed it on T-shirts, but Facebook sponsor), I’m supposed to we would have had to check with all of post what’s happening in my daily life, our friends to see if they were wearing but for me, there’s usually not all that them first before we’d even consider much to tell. I can’t imagine that anystrutting them out in public. one would be all that interested in my Sue Murphy And even if your social circle was puny ups (yay! I finally found a pair okay with the idea, you might get of those little socks with the rubto the Friday night mixer and get ber grips on the bottom) or downs (yikes! There’s a new brown water I realize that it’s in laughed off the dance floor by a circle that was more “in” than yours. stain forming on the ceiling above Kellogg’s financial That was seventh grade. Some kids my guest room sink.). I mean, seriously, who would care? interest to have me were in and some were out, and really the only way to become “in” I attended a writing workshop like them, but seri- was to establish a group that was not. several years ago where the poet hurtful, and I had my share who led us through our grueling ously, Snap, Crackle Itofwas hurting and being hurt, thank you brainstorming and meter checks got and Pop, show a very much, which is why I will not to the end of her presentation and “Like” anyone on Facebook. said, “And now you must look at little restraint. Silly, yes, but chalk it up to your hard-wrought poem and run seventh grade atonement. I might it through the ‘so what’ filter. You like you and your group a lot, but to say you saw this, you felt that. Why officially like you implies that I do should anyone care?” not like the other group quite as much. Now, I could go Why indeed? People are out there finding their own Pollyanna and spend all my waking hours clicking the slipper socks, dealing with their own water stain dilemthumbs up button for everyone (my permanent Facebook mas. Still, it’s my life. It’s what I’ve got. Who cares if post: Still out in cyberspace liking people) but what anyone likes my posting or not? would that really mean? Apparently a lot of people. “Like me on Facebook! Nothing. So, here’s my advice: Don’t worry about Like me on Facebook!” Corporations, retail outlets, being liked. Do not rely on my opinion. Who am I anywannabe teen idols -- everyone seems to be clamoring way? Just a person who finally found those little rubber for my approval. I realize that it’s in Kellogg’s finangripper slipper socks. Those, I like. ❖ cial interest to have me like them, but seriously, Snap,


How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

“So far, I’m doing well, but then again, we are only a few days into the new year. My resolution was to get healthy, so I’m dieting and exercising more. I’m still plugging along.” Tracey Towns Vestavia Hills

“I’ve decided at my age, I am no longer making New Year’s resolutions, so I guess I’m doing really well.”

“My New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and exercise more. I’ve already lost five pounds, so I’m getting there.”

Karin Bell Homewood

Kandace Van Wanderham Homewood

“My New Year’s resolution was to stay married. I got married on Jan. 2, so I’ve made it this far.” Nita Durant Hoover

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 3

About Town


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Free and Open to the Public exCitinG door PrizeS to be Given away every 30 minuteS Save biG with aaa - Come to book, Come to Save! Don’t miss out on the GreAt trAveL show sPeciALs: • special Booking offers Available exclusively At the show • opportunities to talk with some of the world’s Leading travel companies • Free vacation planning with AAA’s experienced, certified travel specialists • representatives from over 60 cruise Lines, tour companies, hotel, Attractions And tourist Boards will Be on hand to Answer Your Questions

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4 • Thursday, January 24, 2013


Acoustic Instruments, Lessons and Repair • We Also Carry Reeds Shop hours: Tues. - Fri., 11am-6pm • Sat. 10am-5pm

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Night at the Theatre Jan. 24, 6 p.m. Virginia Samford Theatre The Parkinson Association of Alabama will host its fourth annual dinner and Night at the Theatre fundraiser at Virginia Samford Theatre. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include a catered dinner, open bar and an opening night performance of “9 to 5: The Musical.” Tickets start at $125 per person. All proceeds will support Parkinson disease research at UAB. To buy tickets or for more information, visit or call 871-9941.


located in Cahaba Heights if we have not heard from Conveniently you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, Vestavia Hills your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Poetry Reading with Gabriel Gadfly Jan. 24, 6-7 p.m. Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Local poet Gabriel Gadfly will read poetry from his collection, “Bone Fragments,” a book of war poems, and from “Ventricle, Atrium,” a book of love poems. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 978-4678.

Thank you for your prompt attention.


Jennifer PRESENTED BY New Orleans is one of the Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., Mountain Brook world's most fascinating 205-824-1246, fax Snap: Zumba Fitness cities. Steeped in a history Jan. 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Jan. 2013 of influences from Europe, Emmet This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the O’Neal Library the Caribbean, Africa, and Jan. 24, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. Join in Zumba mania at Snap: Zumba

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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.

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The 18-time Grammy-winning Corea will perform with six-time Grammy winner Burton on selections from their latest album, “Hot House,” their take on standards by composers such as Kurt Weill, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Thelonius Monk, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Tickets are $49.50-$68.50. For more information, call 975-2787.

Art by Drucilla Defalque Jan. 24-Feb. 4 Hoover Library Theatre View the works of Drucilla Defalque at the Hoover Library Theatre through Feb. 4 Defalque uses paint, dye, drawing, print, hand embroidery, sewing machine work and other fiber techniques to create her collages. The art will be on display in the Plaza Gallery on the theater’s main level. Admission is free. For more information, call 7397124. 9 to 5: The Musical Peyton Icon changed me. Jan. 24-Feb. 10 Over Mountain 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax Virginia Samford Theatre TheThe entire staff at Journal, Icon Jan. 2013 Directed by Norton Dill and are not only supportive featuring Emily Herring, Kristi Tingle and knowledgeable they Thisthere is your from the Over The MOunTain JOurnal for the Jan D. Hunter and Kyle Higginbotham, are for aD me PrOOF every step issue. Please of theJan. way.24, It's2013 not like other gyms fax approval or changes to 824-1246. Holman, “9 to 5: The Musical” is a where you are a number, or a contract. comedy about friendship and revenge in At Icon you are a person - my successes and the Rolodex era. my goals are as important to them as they are to me. Tickets are $30-$35. For show From nutritional guidance to friendly faces Icon provides it all. times, tickets and more information, And the proof—it's been over a year and I'm still going strong. call 251-1206 or visit www. —Casey Ruiz Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

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Madame Butterfly Jan. 25-27 Wright Fine Arts Center Opera Opera Birmingham will present Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” at the Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center on the Samford University campus. Dona D. Vaughn directs and Israel Gursky conducts a cast that includes the Opera Birmingham debuts of soprano Inna Los in the title role, tenor Patrick Miller and baritone Todd Thomas, along with the Opera Birmingham Chorus and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The performance will be in Italian with projected English translations. Tickets are $20-$90 and can be purchased at www.operabirmingham. org, by calling 322-6737 or at the Hill Opera Center, 3601 Sixth Ave. South, Birmingham.


To: From: Date:


About Town

Fitness at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. The class is for students in grades 3-6. No registration is required for this free event. For more information, call 879-0497. Hoover

The Onlys Performance Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library The Onlys will present classic rock and roll hits from the 1950s through today’s hits. The free performance is at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoover Public Library. For more information, call 444-7820. Birmingham

Chick Corea and Gary Burton Jan. 25, 8 p.m. Alys Stephens Center Chick Corea and Gary Burton will perform with the Harlem String Quartet at the Alys Stephens Center Jan. 25.

Demolition Derby Wheelchair Rugby Jan. 25-27 Lakeshore Foundation Wheelchair rugby action returns to Lakeshore on Jan. 25. Host team Lakeshore Demolition, recognized as one of the premier wheelchair rugby programs in the country, will welcome teams from across the country for three days of competition. Admission is free, and games are open to the public. For more information, call 313-7400.


Write Club Jan. 26, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library Meet fellow poets and novelists, flesh out your characters, tie up dangling plot threads and share your inspirations at the Write Club, the library’s monthly forum for amateur writers. This is a free event. For more information, call 4447820. BIrmingham

Dance Workshop Jan. 27, 9-10:30 a.m. Alabama School of Fine Arts As part of the 2013 Alabama Dance Festival, internationally-acclaimed dancer and ABT instructor Raymond Lukens, with ASFA Dance Chair David Keener, will teach a professional track workshop on Jan. 27. The class will be from 9-10:30 a.m. in ASFA’s Studio Theater. Participants may register for the 90-minute workshop or for a weekend package that includes other classes. The Alabama Dance Festival is a seven-day event of celebration, classes, choreography and creative dance performances at various Birmingham area locations. For more information, visit www. or www.asfa.


Bart’s Art Cart/Chinese New Year Jan. 26. 11 a.m.-noon Birmingham Museum of Art This drop-in art program for kids and families features a different gallery and activity each month. This month, slither into the museum to make a snake for Chinese New Year. This is a free event. For more information, call 254-2565 or visit Birmingham

Introduction to Botany Jan. 26, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens Come to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to learn about botany, the science of plant life. Topics in this introductory course include terminology of characters used for differentiating major plant lineages, Alabama’s plant diversity and the use of taxonomic keys and other references to identify plants. The course is $80 for members and $90 for non-members. For more information, call 414-3950. Homewood

Food Blog South Jan. 26, 8 a.m. Rosewood Hall at SoHo Square Learn how to be a food blogger at Food Blog South 2013. The event will include sessions for beginning and experienced food bloggers with plenty of time to meet and mingle with fellow bloggers. The cost is $175. For more information, visit http://foodblogsouth. com.

Soon-Bok Sellers Hoover

American Pen Women’s Art Exhibit Jan. 27, 2-4 p.m. Soon-Bok Sellers Gallery The Birmingham Branch of the National League of American Pen Women’s annual art exhibit will open with an awards reception from 2-4 p.m. on Jan. 27. The event will be at the SoonBok Sellers Gallery at Artists on the Bluff, 571 Park Avenue in Hoover. The exhibit runs through Feb. 26. For more information, call 439-2860 or 979-5699. Homewood

Ed Asner as FDR Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center The Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University presents stage and TV actor Ed Asner in his oneman theater piece “Ed Asner as FDR” on Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The piece is based on Dore Schary’s hit “Sunrise at Campobello,” which ran for 70 weeks on Broadway. For more information and tickets, call 726-2853. Homewood

Better Than Therapy Book Club Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m. Homewood Public Library The Better Than Therapy Book Club will discuss a book by Birmingham attorney Richard Jaffe. For more information, call the library at 332-6620.

Tea and treasures Time in vestavia hills Vestavia Hills

Southern Tea and Treasures Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church Put on your hats and gloves and join the fun at Southern Tea and Treasures on Feb. 2 at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. The Southern Tea Luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. will feature Lorna Reeves, editor-in-chief at Teatime magazine. Seating for the luncheon is limited. Tickets are $20 in advance. Vendor shopping is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for $5. For tickets, call 328-2420, extension 216. The event will benefit the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary. ❖

Organizers are putting the final touches on plans for the Southern Tea and Treasures event at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church on Feb. 2. From left: Fundraising Chairman Mary Wyatt, Salvation Army Representative Capt. Kathy Parker and Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Nancy Warden. Photo special to The Journal

Save the Date

Karen Kingsbury Vestavia Hills

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 5

About Town


The Legacy League, a Samford University auxiliary, will host bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as the guest speaker at its annual Scholarship Luncheon on Jan. 31. Kingsbury has been described by Time magazine as the queen of Christian fiction. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. with ballroom seating opening at 11 a.m. The cost is $50. Reservations are required and can be made online at legacyleague through Jan. 24. For more information, call 726-2247. Homewood

Legacy League Scholarship Lunch Duo Gastesi-Bezerra BMC-0074_PRIMARY-NETWORKƒ-OTMJ-10.25x6.25.pdf Jan. 31, 11:30 a.m. Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m.3 1/14/13 Vestavia Country Club Brock Recital Hall, Samford

5:02 PM

University Gastesi-Bezerra, an accomplished piano duo from south Florida, will perform music by Alabama composers Monroe Golden, Aurelia Gooden, Cynthia Miller, Adriana Perera, William Price and Ed Robertson. General admission tickets are $10. Samford University students are admitted free. Other student tickets are $5. For more information, call 202-9535. Birmingham

Reception and Book Preview Feb. 1, 6-8 p.m. Space One Eleven Margaret Wrinkle, a Birmingham native who is a writer, filmmaker and visual artist, will present her debut

novel at a preview reception, reading and book signing at Space One Eleven. Her book “WASH” reexamines American slavery. Space One Eleven is presenting the event to mark Black History Month and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement. The opening reception begins at 6 p.m. with a reading at 7 p.m. followed by a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 328-0553. Vestavia

First Friday Opening Reception Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m. Artists Incorporated Come celebrate the featured artists at a reception at the Artists Incorporated Gallery. Meet the artists whose work is being featured. The event includes wine, food and live music. For more information, call 979-8990 or visit www. Hoover

Valentines for Children’s of Alabama Feb. 1-11 Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library is collecting homemade and store-bought valentines (no candy) for Children’s of Alabama patients. Bring signed valentines to the preschool desk at the library and receive a holiday prize. For more information, call 444-7833. Vestavia Hills

Bards and Brews Feb. 1, 6:30-9 p.m. Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest The popular poetry performance and beer tasting series will be held at the

LET OUR FAMILY CARE FOR YOURS. Brookwood Primary Care is an extension of our physician family, with convenient locations all over town — and backed by all the resources of Brookwood Medical Center. Visit to find your Brookwood physician today.

Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Feb. 1. The event includes live music, poetry, beer and light refreshments. Those who attend must be 18 to enter and 21 to consume alcohol. This is a free event. For more information, call 978-4678. Homewood

A Cappella Choir Vespers Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m. Hodges Chapel, Samford University Founded in 1939, Samford University’s A Cappella Choir performs free concerts on campus throughout the fall and spring each year. The new Choral Vespers series formally combines the university’s sacred spaces and Christian mission with several School of Arts musical ensembles. The free event will be held in Hodges Chapel. For more information, call 7262840. Birmingham

Regions Masterworks: Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich Feb. 1-2 Alys Stephens Center Guest Conductor Rossen Milanov conceived this program as a tour of the evolution of orchestral writing. The program begins in the 18th century with Haydn’s Symphony No. 88, moves to the 19th century with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and ends in the 20th century with Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra welcomes Vladimir Feltman as soloist. Tickets are $24-$69; student tickets are $10. The show starts at 8 p.m. each night. For more information, call 975-2787.



6 • Thursday, January 24, 2013

About Town


Getting Jazzed for the ball Birmingham

Members of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary are busy planning their second annual Jazz Cat Ball. Front, from left: Carole Waites, Sara Ann Polhemus, Tricia Preston, Janet King and Tammy Dunn. Back: Sandra Gills, Cele Montgomery, Missy Ellis, Donna Hightower, Charlene Frechette, Alex Anderson, Jennifer Alden and Donna McCain O’Brien.

Jazz Cat Ball Feb. 2, 7 p.m. Old Car Heaven The Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary ushers in the Mardi Gras season with its second annual Jazz Cat Ball on Feb. 2 from 7 p.m.-midnight at Old Car Heaven. The event will feature music by Streetkar, the Milo’s Tea gaming casino, VIP rooms and live and silent auctions. The event will benefit programs and services provided by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Tickets are $100 each or $150 per pair. Each ticket price includes offerings from the Classic Cajun Cook-off, complimentary beer and wine, free registration for the silent auction and an evening of music, fun and revelry. Valet parking will be provided. For more information or to order tickets, visit ❖

Photo special to The Journal


Save the Date Con’t. Birmingham

Groundhog Day Celebration Feb. 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Birmingham Zoo Come out to the Wildlife Stage at the Birmingham Zoo for Birmingham Bill’s annual prediction. Will there be six more weeks of winter or an early spring? Visit the zoo to see if Birmingham Bill sees his shadow on Groundhog Day. Admission is free for members, $14 for adults, $9 for children ages 2-12 and $9 for ages 65 and over. For more information, call 879-0409.

Alabama’s 14th National Championship

Artist’s Original Working Sketch with Artist Notes (call for price)

181 Main Street, Suite 225 • 733.4893

To: From: Date:


Riverchase Loves Artists Feb. 2, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Riverchase Country Club The Riverchase Women’s Club will host its seventh annual art event, Riverchase Loves Artists, Feb. 2. Notable Alabama artists will exhibit and sell their work in a variety of mediums, including oil and watercolor paintings, pottery, jewelry and textiles. Proceeds from the sale of art will go to Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama, the Amelia Center and the Exceptional Foundation. The event is free. For more information, call 266-6167 or visit http://

this class will focus on attributes and identification features of woody plant species found naturally or in cultivation in Alabama. Attendees will examine and learn to identify approximately 20 woody plants whose key traits are evident in winter. The class is $40 for members and $45 for non-members. For more information, call 414-3950. Birmingham

Billy Elliot the Musical Feb. 5-10 BJCC Presented by Broadway in Birmingham, “Billy Elliot,” winner of 10 Tony Awards, comes to the BJCC Feb. 5-10. The musical is a celebration of one boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. Tickets are $25-$75 and are available through Ticketmaster and the BJCC Central Ticket Office. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5-7, 8 p.m. on Feb. 8-9, 2 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1 p.m. on Feb. 10 and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 10. For more information, call 800-745-3000. Birmingham

Literacy Council Tutor Orientation Feb. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 2301 First Ave. North, #102 Training for those who would like to be tutors with the Literacy Council is on Feb. 7 at the Literacy Council offices. This free training session will prepare volunteers for the tutor training classes to help teach basic adult literacy and English as a Second Language. For more information, call 326-1925.


Cleve Eaton and the Alabama All Stars Performance Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library Birmingham legend Cleve Eaton and his band will perform an evening of classic jazz at the Hoover Public Library. Eaton played with the Count Basie Orchestra for 17 years and performed with many other legendary performers, including Ramsay Lewis, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. The event is free. For more information, call 444-7820. Homewood

Book Talk with Richard Jaffe Feb. 7, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Homewood Public Library Join nationally-acclaimed Birmingham attorney Richard Jaffe, author of “Quest for Justice: Defending the Damned,” for a book talk and book signing at the Homewood Public Library. Jaffe will spotlight sensational murder cases and talk about his representation of Eric Robert Rudolph. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 322-6620. Birmingham

Ball I’d like to thank thePhoenix following clients, fr Feb. 8, 8 p.m. Birmingham Old Car Heaven who helped me finish in the top 2% of R The Phoenix Club of Birmingham will Winter Plants Identification Class present the 2013 Phoenix Ball at Old Feb. 2. 12:30-4:30 p.m. Special thanks to my broker, Elizabeth H Car Heaven Feb. 8. Tickets are $50. Birmingham Botanical Gardens Robert 988-3131 The event will include live music, food, Using The Gardens’ extensive living Bobbie Tohill and Priscilla Pitts, and my Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 collections as hands-on resources, red carpets, Hollywood backdrops and FAX: 205-824-1246 ball for me during my absence and reco Jan. 2013 Birmingham  On Pointe for ato good cause Pointe Ball you all. All the best in 2013! This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the

1/24/13 otmj issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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


Incredible custom built home on prestigious get ready Shades Crest Road. One level the 2013 Please initial andliving. fax back within 24 for hours., If we have from you by 5 pm of the Friday beforePointe the press For more information gonot toheard From left: your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.


Thank you for your prompt attention. Fox, Lyndra

James Harwell

2011 Sales Associate of the Year

Over the Mountain Office

1220 Alford Avenue • 205.281.4731

Daniel and Lucy Daniel. Photo special to The Journal

Feb. 2 The Club The Alabama Ballet will host an evening of dinner and dancing at the 13th annual Pointe Ball at The Club on Feb. 2. Proceeds from the ball, the organization’s largest fundraiser, helps pay for the ballet’s operating budget and education and scholarship programs. The event will begin with an intimate performance by Alabama Ballet’s professional company members in the ballroom. Following the performances, guests, members of the company and Tracey Alvey, artistic director, will enjoy a gourmet dinner As dessert is served, the Soul Searchers will provide dance music. Tickets are $400 per person and $650 per couple. To buy tickets, call Stacey Turner at 322-4300. For sponsorship information, call Megan R. Cottle, executive director, at 322-1259. ❖

James Harwell, 2011 Resident

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 7

About Town


REAdy to roar


ROAR James Bond Gala Feb. 9 The Club The ROAR third annual James Bond Gala, “GoldenCure,” is slated for Feb. 9 at The Club. The charity event aims to raise $1 million for cancer research. ROAR is the volunteer fundraising committee of the Southeast Cancer Foundation, which donated $500,000 last year to fund personalized cancer medicine research at UAB. Jerry Duncan is the honoree of this year’s event. The James Bond theme will be carried out through all of the event’s activities with the GoldenCure martini, a live auction of Bond’s favorites with Jack Granger and dancing to the music of Total Assets. For more information, visit or call 936-1403. ❖

ROAR members plan the James Bond Gala. From left: Terry Crutchfield, Anne Bishop, Denise Nichols, Yvonne Pope, Pat Starr, Sarah Moseley, Honey Miller and Sue Nuby. Photo special to The Journal

Save the Date Con’t. “paparazzi,” vintage cars, food, cocktail dresses, an ice luge and a horned owl. For more information, call 949-5989 or visit http://phoenixclubofbirmingham. com. Birmingham

Red Diamond SuperPOPS!: Hollywood’s Legendary Hits with Chris Confessore Feb. 9, 8-9:30 p.m. Alabama Theatre Principal POPS! Conductor Chris Confessore leads the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in selections from classic films like “The Magnificent Seven,” “Gone with the Wind,” “The Pink Panther,” “Rocky” and more. Tickets are $29-$62; student tickets are $14. For more information, call 975-2787. Birmingham

Valentines with the Animals Feb. 9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Birmingham Zoo Join the zoo in celebrating Valentine’s Day by making Valentines for your favorite animals. Face painting and other fun activities are included in this event where participants will learn interesting animal facts. The event is free for members, $14 for adults, $9 for children ages 2-12 and $9 for ages 65 and over. For more information, call 879-0409.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Venture out for Valentine’s Day to find the tree of chocolate in The Gardens. Learn how and where the cacao tree grows, discover footballshaped seed pods that grow on trunks and find out what is inside them. Get your spoons and aprons ready to mix up some homemade chocolate candy for Valentine’s Day. Children will take home an apron, recipe book of chocolate and a box of their homemade chocolates in a do-it-yourself Valentine chocolate box they design. The cost is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. For more information, call 414-3950. Hoover

Beginning Zentangle Class Feb. 9, 1-3:30 p.m. Artists on the Bluff Learn Zentangle, the method of creating beautiful images out of repetitive patterns. During this

introductory class, participants will learn at least eight basic tangles and complete at least two tiles. The $35 fee includes supplies and a mini-kit for use at home. For more information, call 305-2082. North Shelby

Hearts of Hope Luncheon Feb. 13, noon. Cahaba Grand Conference Center The Women’s Auxiliary of The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center will host its seventh annual Hearts of Hope Benefit Luncheon Feb. 13 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. The luncheon benefits programs for addicted and homeless women seeking Christian recovery, shelter, and education. Pam Tebow, mother of Tim Tebow, will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $75. Table sponsorships are available. For more information, call 425-7737, ext. 26, or visit www.


Chinese New Year Festival Feb. 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Boutwell Municipal Auditorium Organized by the Birmingham Chinese Festival Association, the annual Birmingham Chinese New Year’s Festival celebrates one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. The event also creates an environment that promotes cultural exchanges between the community of Chinese Nationals in Birmingham and the Birmingham community. The festival will feature Chinese games, food, dance, music, acrobatic performances, kung fu demonstrations and more. Admission is free but donations will be accepted. For more information, visit http:// Birmingham

From Seed to Chocolate: A Valentine Venture Feb. 9, 2-4 p.m.

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Royer, From cover

Mike said he hopes he will challenge and inspire those attending the chamber luncheon with the stories he has gathered over the years.

cover story “I want to make them smile, too. I am flattered and excited to be able to do this,” he said. Mike said he will also speak about what he sees as a community responsibility to do a better job of educating children. “On a serious note, I will talk about how some of our young people don’t

Saying farewell after 38 yearS

It has been an honor and privilege to serve you for 38 years but I am finished with being the owner of a small business. I want to rest and be quiet, to read and write, to knit or to just vegetate in front of the TV. To no longer be the responsible person I have been for so many years; to experience life without the store. Pardon me for doing cartwheels and handstands but that is how I feel: Joyful and confident this is the right decision for me. Please don't think of me as defeated or a quitter but just the opposite; as a woman who is not afraid to make a major change, not knowing the outcome. I look forward to giving you a hug and the opportunity to say THANKS for your support, concern and love. You will never know how much it has meant to me all these years. You have stood by and supported me through good times and bad. Thank you all for your patronage and caring. - Libby Rich


have the general knowledge they need,” he said. Young people need to pay attention to the news and current events more, Mike said, in order to have the background knowledge they need to contribute to society. “We need a well-educated electorate that understands the process and knows about the things happening around them,” he said. Mike said he will also talk about why he thinks Mountain Brook is a great place to live, work and do business. Mike, his wife Amy and their two sons, Jack and Will, have lived in Mountain Brook for about 11 years. “We chose to move to Mountain Brook so that our children could attend the great schools, and we love living here,” he said. “If you choose to make

Mountain Brook your home, it truly feels like your home because you feel a real community bond.” The importance of community bonds is something Mike said he learned growing up on a farm in Clay City, Ind. “It was very rural, very country. I wouldn’t take anything for that upbringing and the values I was taught there,” he said. After high school, Mike left the Indiana farm to attend college in Chattanooga, Tenn. “My parents strongly encouraged me to go to a Christian school, so I went to Tennessee Temple University. It was a small school and the place where I first got a taste for broadcasting,” he said. Mike didn’t begin his broadcasting career on television, however.

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“The school had a radio station and at that time, I had no idea that being on television was a real job. The very first time I was ever on the air at the radio station, I said the shortest, most fervent prayer you’ve ever heard, and if I’m lucky enough to know when my last time on the air is, I would like to open with a prayer then, too,” he said. Mike got his first job in television at WTWO in Terre Haute, Ind., in 1975. “I had one suit, a navy sport coat, and that was it. I just knew it was something I had to give my best shot,” he said. In 1979, Mike came to Birmingham for a job at what is now Fox 6 and what he thought was a temporary stay in Alabama. “I thought I’d be here for about a year and now it has been more than 30 years, and I still count myself as one of the lucky ones to be able to do what I do every day,” he said. Mike said his viewers have probably learned a lot about him from the kinds of stories he has covered over the years. “If you’ve seen my work, you pretty much know what my values are and what kind of person I am. I’m such an open book in that way,” he said. But what most people might not know about him, Mike said, is that he has a specialty in the kitchen. “I make the best apple pie you’ll ever taste. It’s Grandma Royer’s recipe, and my mother taught me how to make it,” he said. When he’s not working, Mike said he likes to be home in Mountain Brook, away from the cameras and enjoying his family. “I do what I do at work and then I go home and concentrate on raising my boys. I like having those things separated because there are just some things you want to keep for yourself, like your time with your family,” he said. Mike has been named Alabama’s Best Television Weathercaster by the Associated Press News Service five times. He won a regional Emmy nomination for Outstanding News Anchor and as a member of the news team at Alabama’s 13 News that won an Emmy for Best Newscast. ❖

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Margaret’s Message Former Mayor Touts City’s Strong Foundation, Bright Future BY KEYSHA DREXEL



former Mountain Brook mayor recently told an audience at the Jefferson County Historical Association that the city has a bright future because of a strong foundation laid by its first officials. Margaret Porter, who was Mountain Brook’s first female mayor in 1996, spoke to the association at its meeting at the Emmet O’Neal Library on Jan. 10. “The tenets of good government that were set up for Mountain Brook in 1942 are still essential today,” Margaret said. Margaret served on the Mountain Brook City Council from 1984 until 1996. In 1996, she was council president when Mayor Bill Matthews resigned. “By law, the council president becomes the mayor if the mayor resigns. He (Matthews) did that because he wanted to recognize my longtime service to the city, and I think he wanted me to be the first female mayor of Mountain Brook,” she said. Margaret served for about four months before the next election cycle

began and decided not to run for the office due to her increasing responsibilities as chairman of the McWane Science Center’s board of trustees. She chaired the board for five years and was in charge of the campaign which raised $43 million to open the center in downtown Birmingham. “At that time, I was chair of the McWane Science Center, and we had so much going on there. We were about a year out from the opening, and I knew that would take a lot of my time,” she said. Margaret’s political career began out of her frustrations as a young mother looking for a place to take her child to play. “I was 25 years old and had a toddler and no place to take her in the city, no place in Mountain Brook with play equipment,” she said, “So I went to the city manager’s office and asked if we could build a park in Mountain Brook. I was told that it wasn’t a priority.” But Margaret didn’t take no for an answer. The next day, she returned to the city manager’s office with a proposal. “I challenged them and asked if they would build a park if I could find the property and the money,” she said. “I knew if I could take care of

PEOPLE that, there’s no way they could say no ing at the fields at the Levite Jewish Community Center on Montclair again.” In response to her challenge, (Road), but they were about to expand then -Mayor Pete McGriff appointed Margaret to the city’s parks and recre- and take over that property,” Margaret said. ation committee, she said. So Margaret looked for political “Then Gene Thomlinson and I allies to help give young athletes in went to Daryl McClain, the school Mountain Brook the facilities she felt superintendent at that time, and asked they needed. him about the property across from “John McNeil and I agreed to run Crestline Elementary School,” she for city council with said. “No one was each other to help using the property, promote and push the so we asked if we sports complex. With could lease it, and the David Higgins, who Crestline Tot Lot was also ran, we were able born.” to do that. That gave Once the park us three out of the five property was secured, votes on the council Margaret set about we needed,” she said. bringing the commuTo fund the sports nity together to make complex project, the Crestline Tot Lot a Margaret said she reality. again called on the “Nim and Nancy public-private develLong designed the opment model that park for free, and the had been so successful city kicked in $17,000 Margaret Porter with the Crestline Tot towards building it. It Lot. was a $44,000 project at the time. “It was a $5 million project. The The rest of the money was from donacity put in $1.5 million and the rest tions that ranged from a quarter from of it came from donations,” she said. a child giving their allowance to the Margaret said the city continued to park project to our largest contribucomplete projects that were citizention of $5,000,” she said. driven and were partnerships between Having triumphed in getting a the public and private sectors. safe place for her child to play in “We used that same model to their city, Margaret wasn’t content to develop all the sidewalks and the trail rest on her laurels. Her next project system in the city that connects all was bringing a sports complex to of our schools, churches, synagogues Mountain Brook. and businesses,” she said. “The “The reason I ran for city council Friends of Jemison Park were able to was because we had no sports comget state and federal funding for our plex in our city. We had been play-

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Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 9

sidewalk system, so there have been lots of successful public-private partnerships in Mountain Brook.” Margaret said she’s proud she was able to serve the city and said she hopes she was successful in creating a sense of community in Mountain Brook. “That’s what motivates me--connecting people,” she said. “I was just a citizen trying to do what I could do to improve our community.” Margaret told the audience at the Jefferson County Historical Association meeting that she thinks Mountain Brook has a bright future because it is full of other citizens who want to improve the community. “There’s no compensation for serving the city, so the people elected really want to serve for the right reasons,” she said. “That was one of the tenets of the city’s government set up by Charles Zukoski , the first mayor, that gives the city the strong foundation it needs.” Zukoski also set up Mountain Brook with a city manager form of government with council representatives running at large and insisted on careful planning to protect the city’s natural beauty, she said. “All those things are still important today,” she said. “I’m very hopeful that we will continue to grow on that firm foundation and continue to value the things that are most important to us--education, safety, the library and recreation opportunities. These are things that have always been valued by our citizens, and I think they will continue to be supportive of those things.” ❖


10 • Thursday, January 24, 2013




‘You can’t become too entrenched in any one thing. Everything is always changing, and you either have to embrace that and go with it, or you’re stuck.’

Hoover Woman Reinvents Her Art---And Herself




n order to live the life of her dreams, Dori DeCamillis said she has had to learn to take risks and to accept change. The 49-year-old Hoover woman has constantly had to reinvent herself--and her art-- as she forged ahead with her dreams of making a living as an artist. Dori is the owner of Red Dot Gallery in Homewood and said in the art world, if you don’t keep evolving and changing and growing, you don’t make it. “You can’t become too entrenched in any one thing. Everything is always changing, and you either have to embrace that and go with it, or you’re stuck,” she said. By the time she was 29 years old, the Colorado native said, she was making a living as an artist but never really imagined that someday she would run her own art gallery and studio. Dori spent three years living out of a RV with her ex-husband, traveling to art shows across the country. The couple settled in Birmingham in 1994 and had a daughter, Annabelle. “About six years after we settled here, we split up, and I found myself a single mother with a child to support,” she said. “With my ex-husband, I had been painting these miniature landscape scenes, and he was going to continue with that. So, in addition to all the other changes, I had to change my art.” That’s when Dori considered getting a desk job and backing off from her artwork. “I would walk into these places on job interviews and see this sea of cubicles, and I knew I just couldn’t possibly do it,” she said. “I knew that I couldn’t stop being an artist any more than I

could stop being a girl.” So Dori set about finding a way to support herself and her daughter through her artwork. She took on students and traveled around the Birmingham area teaching painting classes. “I also started painting these landscapes with big fluffy trees, and they helped us make ends meet, but I hated it,” she said. “That change taught me that as an artist, either I’m going to stay within my own artistic integrity or I won’t do it at all.” Dori said it has always been “pretty scary” to reinvent her artistic style. “For an artist, that can be career suicide. You have to start all over on the marketing and everything. For many people, making that change never works,” she said. But Dori said she has always had a passion and a determination to do things on her own terms. “I guess that has helped me survive--that stubbornness. You have to have the attitude that you are going to make a living doing what you want, no matter what,” she said. After Dori remarried, she began thinking about changing her life again. “I started thinking about opening a gallery and a studio. I wanted to try the next step in my art career. It was a major risk, but I knew it was something I had to try,” she said. So Dori and her husband, Scott, decided to open Red Dot Gallery at Pepper Place. They later moved the business to Homewood. “The whole time we’re working on setting everything up for the new business, I was thinking that I must be crazy. But it was that same determination and passion that kept me going,” she said. Also helping her through the transition from artist and teacher to business owner, Dori said,


Vestavia Mom Retires From Law Career Early to Homeschool Son BY KEYSHA DREXEL



hen Dianah Ellis of Vestavia Hills became a mother for the first time six years ago, she knew the experience would change her life. But what she said she didn’t count on was how much it would change her career. After working as a prosecutor trying murder, rape and other high-profile cases for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for 10 years, Dianah has decided to retire so she can devote all of her time and energy to educating her son at home. “Being a prosecutor was a great, fun, interesting job and I absolutely loved it, but as it got closer to time for my son to go to kindergarten, I couldn’t get rid of that voice inside telling me there was another way to live our lives,” Dianah said. When she floated the idea by

friends and colleagues, she often got the same response, Dianah said. “Well-meaning, dear friends were like, ‘What are you thinking?’ and there were some points where I thought I must be a little crazy to give up my career,” she said. Dianah said she was probably at the pinnacle of her career when she decided to give it up and stay home to teach her son. “I was trying the rapes, the child sex abuse cases, the murders. The next step would have been to be a supervisor,” she said. “It was a hard, hard decision to leave that.” But she said she was encouraged by her faith and by knowing that the voice urging her to make the bold move was God. “I knew God was behind this, and so taking that leap of faith was easier,” she said. Dianah and her husband, an architect, carefully considered all the factors and prayed a lot before she resigned from her job.

were the wise words her daughter said to her one day. “Annabelle was just 7 years old when we started the business, and she asked me why I was so worried, and I told her I was scared about opening a business,” she said. “She just looked at me and said, ‘You will never know until you try.’ Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.” Annabelle is folloiwing in her mother’s footsteps and is an accomplished artist in her own right. Earlier this month, her work was part of the national YoungArts exhibit in Miami. That same willingness to experiment also led to more artistic style changes for Dori. For a few years, Dori did large panels with tile inlays on historical places in Alabama. She even received an Alabama Council on the Arts grant for the panels. “But in the past couple of years, I started getting tired of those big panels, of the expense and the time-consuming nature of those pieces, so I decided to try something different,” she said.

Dori started creating 16x20 paintings of animals dressed up in costumes, just to please her own artistic sensibilities. The bonus, she said, was that people loved her new direction. “That was for myself. I wanted to do more intimate paintings, and the funny thing is, they have been more popular than anything,” she said. Dori said she feels very lucky to be able to earn a living as an artist and to share her passion with others. She said without being able to embrace change and take risks, she never would be in the place she is now. “Somewhere a long time ago, I guess I just decided that being a risk-taker was going to be easier for me than taking the traditional path,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean it has all been easy. It just means I worked through the scary parts, the hard parts. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘I didn’t say it was going to be easy, I said it was going to be worth it.’ Judy Garland said that, and it something that rings very true for me.” Dori said her next adventure is writing about her artwork. She wrote one book about her travels with her ex-husband and a second book about her childhood. Her third book, which she is working on now, is about her new paintings. “Each step of the way, something new opens up and unfolds, and you have to be ready to take action,” she said.❖

the next thing you know, the kids are out of school and off to college and you never, ever get that time back,” she said. She said she was worried about many factors involved with homeschooling her son. “I almost got overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to teach him to read, but I knew this was something important that I wanted to give him,” she said. She said she also chose to homeschool her son because it gives her the time and opportunity to instill her family’s Christian values in him at the same time he is learning reading, math and science. “I can talk ‘I knew God was to him about behind this, and so God. I can teach him our taking that leap of beliefs and values. I faith was easier.’ our get the joy of teaching him to read, It is a true blessing, and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity,” she said.

“It was a huge pay decrease. There were lots of things to consider. We prayed about this move a lot and in the end, we felt like we were doing the right thing,” she said. She said she grew up in public schools and never dreamed she would homeschool her own children. But seeing how time slipped by so quickly for her friends and family members with young children, Dianah said she knew she wanted a different experience for her son, Mercer Grey Ellis. “I watched my friends with kids zip from school to extracurricular activities with schedules so full they never had any real time with their children. Then,

For every worry she had about retiring and homeschooling her son, Dianah said God has provided an answer. “Between Upward Basketball at church, other homeschooled friends and neighbors, he has so many kids to play with and so many things to do, we can barely keep up,” she said. “And he loves learning and is a great student. He’s happy as a lark, and that is all the validation I need right there.” Dianah said she sometimes misses her job as a prosecutor but does not for one minute regret her life-changing decision. “Sure, you miss getting dressed up, you miss people listening to you and you miss feeling important that way, but you begin to feel important in lots of different, very meaningful ways,” she said. Dianah said she urges others considering making big lifestyle changes not to be paralyzed by fear. “That’s what it means to be alive, to really live, isn’t it? To feel excitement about something, to feel like you are on the right path, even if that path goes in a direction you never, ever thought it would,” she said. ”It’s a leap of faith, for sure, but there’s nothing better than doing something you love.” ❖

Graham to Chair Women’s Lawyers Section Ray D. Gibbons, senior partner of Gibbons Graham LLC, has announced that partner Christina A. Graham has been selected the 2013 Chair of the Women Lawyers Section of the Birmingham Bar Association. “The Women Lawyers Section is one of the Christina Graham most active in the Birmingham Bar Association. I am honored to lead such a diverse and dynamic group,” Graham said. “The WLS boasts over 300 members, and it exists to foster the personal and professional development of women with law degrees and to enhance the quality of life and culture of the legal community.” Graham said she thinks the purpose of the WLS is to encourage the participation of women in the practice of law as a profession, to provide role models and mentors for women seeking to enter or grow in the profession and to provide an environment which fosters cooperation between and among women in the profession. Graham has been an active member of WLS for more than seven years and received the 2010-11 WLS Distinguished Service Award. Graham is a graduate of the

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 11



University of Georgia and Cumberland School of Law, where she was writing editor of the Cumberland Law Review. She has practiced law in Birmingham since 2000. Her practice focuses primarily on commercial lending and real estate law. Gibbons and Graham opened Gibbons Graham LLC in 2011 after practicing law together at other Birmingham law firms. Graham lives in Mountain Brook with her husband, Will, and their three young children.

Vestavia’s Long Is New Association Executive Cliff Long of Vestavia Hills has been named the new association executive at the Birmingham Association of Realtors and the Birmingham Area Multiple Listings Service. Long has taken over for Charles Penn, who recently retired after more than 16 years of service. Long is the former association executive/ Cliff Long chief executive officer for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Prior to being hired as association executive, Long served Realtors as the government affairs director and chief lobbyist for Panhandle

Realtors. Before he began his career in association management, Long was the Panhandle regional manager and public spokesperson for the Florida Department of Financial Services, representing and speaking on behalf of the state of Florida’s chief financial officer. A Montgomery native, Long is married to Akilah Long of Birmingham. “I am excited to be back home in Alabama,” Long said. “I am elated to be a part of the plan of success that our BAR board members and executive committee have put together.”

McCrary Wins Silver Award from Girl Scouts A member of Girl Scout Troop 116 was recently recognized for her accomplishments by earning the Girl Scout Silver Award. Charlotte McCrary, a freshman at Spain Park High School, was recently honored with the award. The honor is the highest award presented to Girl Scout Cadettes in grades 6-8 and symbolizes a scout’s community service and desire to make her life and the lives of others better. For her Charlotte McCrary Silver Award project, McCrary made stepping stones for a local organization that provides

From left: Zach Blomeley, Zach Sims, Ross Page and Chris Campbelll. Photo special to the Journal

underserved children with academic and recreational activities. She inscribed motivational words on each of the stepping stones to encourage children. Charlotte said she hopes to return to the organization next year to help the children create their own inspiring stepping stones.

Homewood Troop Honors Eagle Scouts Boy Scout Troop 97 recently celebrated the achievement of the Eagle Scout rank by four of its members. Ross Page, Chris Campbell, Zach Blomeley and Zach Sims, all of Homewood, have earned the highest rank in scouting. Collectively, the young men have logged almost 400 nights of camping, earned more than 100 merit badges, held more than 20 leadership positions, hiked hundreds of miles and served thousands of hours in their communities.

All four scouts have also been awarded the Arrow of Light. Campbell and Blomeley also received the Order of the Arrow award. The scouts have traversed many high adventure bases and hiking trails, including Florida Sea Base, Double H, Philmont, Pinhoti, Chickamauga, Fiery Gizzard and the Appalachian trails. Page is a freshman at the University of Alabama, where he is majoring in business and is a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Campbell, Blomeley and Sims are seniors at Homewood High School. Campbell and Blomeley play in the HHS band. Sims is captain of the football and wrestling teams. Campbell said he plans to study mechanical engineering after high school. Blomeley said he plans to attend Auburn University. Sims is being recruited to play college football and recently started at center for the Alabama team in the AlabamaMississippi All-Star Game. ❖

Dedicated to women’s unique healthcare needs. MARGARET MIKLIC, M.D. BoARD-CERTIfIED oB/GYN Member of the Medical Staff at Trinity Medical Center

Trinity Medical Center welcomes Margaret Miklic, M.D., to our growing group of OB/GYN care providers. Whether you’re starting a family or preparing for a healthy menopause, you need a doctor you can trust. Offering comprehensive care for women of all ages, Dr. Margaret Miklic is here to help. She offers compassionate care for all your obstetrical and gynecological needs. Dr. Miklic is now accepting new patients. Call 205-592-5499 today for your appointment.

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12 • Thursday, January 24, 2013


Security Increasing at OTM Schools u Over the mountain

By Keysha Drexel


Journal Editor

s schools across the nation and state search for ways to keep students safe in the wake of the Newtown shootings, school superintendents from Over the Mountain schools joined other school officials from Jefferson County to talk about school safety. Fresh from testifying at a legislative hearing in Montgomery on school safety, Director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security Spencer Collier spoke to area superintendents on Jan. 9 at the Jefferson County Board of Education about the role of guns in schools. Collier said while there has been a lot of discussion about arming teachers since 26 people were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December, he thinks it is better that law enforcement officers are the only ones carrying guns in schools. “We believe that the armed ones should be trained law enforcement officers,” he said. “Teachers are trained educators. It’s difficult to ask the teacher to be an educator and then to take on the role of a law enforcement officer where they have to know when to shoot and when not to shoot.” Even trained law enforcement officers, Collier said, sometimes make mistakes when it comes to guns. “Twenty-two percent of the police officers who are killed (in the line of duty) are killed with their own weapon,” Collier said. “And they have been trained on how to keep their weapon secure.” Getting law enforcement officers-and the general public--better trained on how to deal with active shooter situations is one of the goals of the state Department of Homeland Security, Collier said. Only about 27 percent of law enforcement officers in the state are trained on how to combat an active shooter, Collier said. Collier said it wouldn’t cost much to have 100 percent of the state’s law enforcement officers trained for active shooter situations. Collier said educators and the public as a whole have to realize that because of an increase in active shooter situations, law enforcement officers have changed their safety messages. “The days of law enforcement instructing people to be passive in these type of situations are over,” he said. “When all else fails, you have to take action into your own hands.” To that end, Collier showed the school officials an active shooter training video dealing with a workplace shooting. “I’m not here to tell you how to do your jobs or to tell you the right model for your school. You know your schools better than anyone else. But I am here to offer our services and show you how we are training people to deal with these situations,” he said.

Collier also told school officials about Virtual Alabama, a Google Earth-based technology that gives law enforcement officers access to school maps and safety plans to use in emergencies. “You can’t just make a school safety plan and put it up on a shelf anymore,” Collier said. “As a former law enforcement officer, I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have a layout of the building you’re about to go in and try to secure.” Schools can input safety plans, interactive maps of classrooms, common areas and hallways, along with real-time surveillance video feeds of the school to Virtual Alabama. That data, along with information on evacuation routes, hazardous materials and emergency equipment at the school, is made available to first responders at a secure site online. Schools are required to have that data input to Virtual Alabama by July 19. Hoover

Hoover City Schools Superintendent Andy Craig said Virtual Alabama is a good concept that Hoover schools will use in the near future. “We were familiar with Virtual Alabama, and we’re working now to get that system in place in our schools,” he said. In early January, the Hoover City Council voted to add up to $100,000 to the fiscal year 2013 budget to keep a Hoover police officer in each of the city’s 10 elementary schools during school hours for the rest of the school year. “We got input from our principals and talked with the mayor and the police chief and decided this was the best thing to do at this time,” he said. Craig said the school system has a “close, collaborative relationship with our city police, and these types of conversations are ongoing between the schools, the city and the police department.” Homewood

Homewood City Schools’ safety plans and other information are already in the Virtual Alabama system, said Bill Cleveland, the school system’s superintendent. He said Collier’s presentation made him even more confident that having Homewood school data available to first responders is a good idea. “It’s reassuring to hear the thoughts of a professional in security and safety. We have our current plans in Virtual Alabama because it reinforces what we think is vital--communication. We already have great communication with our city police department and this just gives them another tool to keep our students safe,” he said. Cleveland said he appreciated Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, for arranging the meeting of the school superintendents with Collier.

OTM school superintendents attended a meeting to talk about school safety with the director of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security. From left: Andy Craig, Rep. Paul DeMarco and Bill Cleveland. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

“To know that everyone’s getting on the same page and for us all to come together like this is also reassuring,” he said. Cleveland said sales tax revenue from the city allows the Homewood school system to provide school resource officers at the high school and middle school and a DARE officer at each of the elementary schools. “We know that if there’s ever a problem, those officers are there at the schools and more are just a phone call away,” he said. Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook Schools officials have been working with Virtual Alabama since the fall, said Superintendent Dickey Barlow. “We should finish our training by the end of the month. We feel like we’re being proactive by reviewing our crisis management plans and making sure they are on Virtual Alabama,” he said. Barlow said Virtual Alabama gives school systems another tool to help keep students, teachers and staff members safe and said he was glad to get together with other Over the Mountain school officials to talk about the program. “I really appreciate that meeting being put together, because although we were already working with Virtual Alabama and our safety needs, you can’t hear that kind of information too many times,” he said. Mountain Brook Schools has one school resource officer for its six schools. Barlow said he and other school officials are talking with the Mountain Brook Police Department to review school safety needs. Barlow said the school system works closely with the police department and meets regularly to talk about different crisis scenarios. The school system also opens each of its schools to the police department for training purposes, Barlow said. “At night or on the weekends, the police go into the schools and do tactical training for how to deal with school crisis situations,” he said. “We think it is an added bonus to have the

officers training in the actual schools because it gives them a place to practice and it helps them become really familiar with our schools.” Mountain Brook police officers are also invited to visit the schools unannounced, Barlow said. “They do a great job of driving around all of our schools a few times a day, and we invite them to park their cars, come in and walk down the halls anytime they want to,” he said. Barlow said when the schools have fire drills, the Mountain Brook Fire Department often will come out and evaluate those drills. “We’re thinking of doing the same thing with our lockdown drills and having the police officers come in and evaluate how we do on those drills,” he said. “The more we work together to prepare for the unthinkable, the better.” Vestavia Hills

Vestavia Hills Schools Superintendent Jamie Blair said he u mountain brook

Group Starts Movement After Newtown Shootings One month after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., a Mountain Brook-based nonprofit group has launched a new initiative to help communities in crisis. MeetUP for Change announced its new “LIP Life Is Precious” movement on Jan. 16. LIP Life Is Precious is an effort to provide resources and well wishes to communities in need, like Newtown. “We are inviting individuals nationwide to join the LIP Life Is Precious movement,” said Vikki Grodner, president and chief executive officer of MeetUP for Change. “When a situation like the one in Newtown arises, or a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or the April 2011 tornadoes occur, we want to bring comfort while simultaneously embracing and articulating a simple truth--life is precious.” MeetUP for Change sold fashionable T-shirts and baseball caps for minimum donations

appreciated the information passed along at the meeting and said he hopes legislators will help school systems with funding to make schools safer. “It was a good meeting, and I hope now that our legislators will help us find a way to pay for the added police officers and other safety measures we need for our schools,” he said. At a special meeting earlier this month, the Vestavia Hills school board voted to put school resource officers (SROs) at all nine of the system’s schools, Blair said. “We already have four SROs, but we thought in light of what happened in Newtown that it would be better to have a trained officer at each school,” he said. Until those officers can be approved by the personnel board and trained, the school system is using offduty police officers to beef up security at each school, Blair said. Blair said the school system also is increasing the number of security cameras in each school and installing a controlled access system for entering each school. “It’s basically a system where all visitors to the school have to be buzzed in and can’t just walk in the front door. We piloted a system like this a while back at Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park but when the financial crisis hit, scaled back on those plans,” he said. While security is being increased at Vestavia Hills schools, Blair said he thinks it is important that schools remain places where students and teachers feel free. “We’re still a public school. We don’t want to put our kids in a prison or for them to feel like they’re in a prison. We have to err on the side of caution, but we can’t give up our freedom,” he said. ❖

of $25. For each donation received, a second T-shirt or hat was donated to people who have recently gone through a community crisis or natural disaster. The next event will be on Feb. 14 when cupcake shops and bakeries throughout the Northeast will donate sweets to those impacted by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. MeetUP for Change was created in 2011 to organize and promote “random acts of volunteerism.” The organization has developed a number of initiatives to provide opportunities for individuals to become more engaged in the community, including the Dressing Up! Tuscaloosa clothing distribution following the April 2011 tornadoes. Organizers say the LIP Life Is Precious movement will complement these efforts by providing a concrete way for individuals to show their support to communities and individuals in need. For more information on the movement, visit ❖

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 13



Mayor Says City is Strong

u hoover

By Keysha Drexel


u homewood

‘Homewood continues to move forward despite the economy and, quite honestly, despite some naysayers.’


Journal editor

omewood Mayor Scott McBrayer credited the city’s employees when he announced that the city’s finances are in good shape during his State of the City Address last week. “This is the reason we have a surplus,” McBrayer said after asking city council members, department heads and city employees to stand and be recognized during his address at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce luncheon at The Club. Final audit results are expected in a couple of weeks, but for the fiscal year 2012, the city is projected to have at least a $1 million surplus, the mayor said. For the fourth year in a row, the city has been successful in monitoring its finances and making sure it does not spend more than it brings in, McBrayer said. “We want to run the city like most people run their households,” he said. “I was told early on that it was impossible, but thankfully, no one really listened.” McBrayer said the city has averaged a $1 million surplus over the last four budget years. The city is continuing to grow and add more businesses, which creates more jobs, McBrayer said.

Scott McBrayer, Homewood Mayor “Homewood continues to move forward despite the economy and, quite honestly, despite some naysayers,” he said. The new Target expected to open on March 10 is expected to create just over 300 new jobs in the city, the mayor said. A Fresh Market and a DSW shoe store are also slated to open in Homewood in 2013, along with a Dunkin’ Donuts and a Pep Boys, McBrayer said. New apartments are under construction off Valley Avenue, he said, and plans are underway to build a skilled nursing facility off Lakeshore Drive. McBrayer said the city also this year plans to invest in more new sidewalks and work on construction of the new community center. The mayor said he has been talking to the city council about

emulating the look of the Edgewood business district at businesses near Patriot Park. McBrayer said he would also like to make the Homewood Chamber of Commerce more visible by opening a chamber office downtown. “We need a place with easy access and that’s visible to visitors. We have a lot of things in Homewood to attract people, and this would help the chamber’s efforts to do that. This is something that could be coming in the near future,” he said. McBrayer said he is pleased with the current state of the city and optimistic about Homewood’s future. “The state of the City of Homewood is strong, and it’s getting stronger every day,” he said. “Homewood will be that shining city on the hill that all the other cities want to be like.” ❖

Action on Zoning Request Delayed By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

he Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission has rescheduled for Feb. 11 a vote on a controversial request to rezone 69 acres off Caldwell Mill Road to pave the way for a subdivision near Berry Middle School. The zoning request was scheduled for Jan. 14 but was continued at the request of Signature Homes, which wants the property rezoned from agricultural district to Planned Residential Development District. The zoning request was brought before the commission on Dec. 10, but it was delayed to give Signature Homes President Jonathan Belcher a chance to address concerns raised by residents about the development. Belcher said he’s been talking to residents and expected to file an ammended plan on Jan. 18 reducing the number of proposed homes for the subdivision from 151 to 121. The ammended plan would also include increasing the subdivision’s common areas from 24 to 26.7 acres and including buffer space between the proposed development and the surrounding neighborhoods. The commission’s Feb. 11 meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Hoover Municipal Building. Signature Homes initially wanted to build 151 homes on a combined

45 acres with 24 acres to be used as a common area for a community building and community pool. However, those 24 acres include the eight-acre Moon Glow Lake, which residents are adamant about protecting. Signature Homes also has proposed selling 12.3 acres with the 69 acres to add to property the Hoover Board of Education already owns for a future school – possibly an elementary school – at the entrance of Jaguar Drive and Caldwell Mill Road. However, residents of surrounding neighborhoods have mounted a petition drive to get the planning and zoning commission and the Hoover City Council – should the zoning commission approve rezoning the property -- to reject Signature Homes’ rezoning request. Residents have created a website,, to rally support against rezoning the 69 acres. Residents want to preserve Moon Glow Lake and surrounding property for bird watching and as a wildlife habitat. “Everyone in Caldwell Crossing, Inverness and surrounding neighborhoods should be concerned about the negative impact this development will have on our homes, home values, and neighborhoods. Not to mention its effect on the roadways, wildlife, and environment,” a statement on the website reads. ❖

14 • Thursday, January 24, 2013

Belles of the Ball


Krewe Debs To Be Honored Feb. 8

From left: Taylor Hiden, Bess Troiano, Newman Deaton, Beverley Blount and Delia Folk.

Annie Thompson, Comer Crockard, Elizabeth Ann Williams, Sarah Reid Harris and Melissa Robinson.


wenty-three young women will be presented at the 46th Beaux Arts Krewe Ball Feb. 8 at the Boutwell Auditorium. The Beaux Arts Krewe is a men’s organization which, since its founding in 1967, has served its primary purpose of supporting the Birmingham Museum of Art with an annual debutante ball. In the historic tradition of the Beaux Arts Krewe, the identities of the queen and her court are kept secret until their announcement at the ball. The 23 presentees are: Jane Austin Ault, daughter of Mr. William Allen Ault and Mrs. Francie Marrell Shuttlesworth; Lindsey Harris Badham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walker Percy Badham III; Beverley Waters Blount, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Winton Malcomb Blount IV;

Lenora Ireland Brown, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Tom Tartt Brown Jr.; Virginia Clayton Clark, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lang Clark; Catherine Jane Compton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Paul Compton Jr.; Jane Comer Crockard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hearne Crockard III; Shirley Caroline Crozier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Archer Crozier; Frances Newman Deaton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Shropshire Deaton; Delia Thornton Folk, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Glover Mitchell Bruhn and Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Rush Folk; Sarah Reid Harris, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ashley Harris; Taylor Gore Hiden, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Mudd Hiden; Margaret Livingston Hindman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Ward Hindman; Margaret

Debutantes Presented at International Ball


wo Over the Mountain debutantes were presented at the 58th International Debutante Ball in New York City on Dec. 29. The event was held at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The International Debutante Ball, founded in 1954, is considered one of the most prestigious debutante presentations. Young women of distinction from all over the country and around the world are brought together at the ball and the surrounding parties with daughters of diplomats, titled Europeans, ambassadors, governors and U.S. Presidents. Over the years, the ball has benefited numerous charities from the International Debutante Ball


Lindsey Badham, Margaret Hindman, Catie Comptom, Maxwell Thomas and Mary Riley Ogilvie.

Nonie Brown, Alexandra Wilson, Caroline Crozier, Clayton Clark and Julie Ault.

Richardson King, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Steven King; Mary Riley Ogilvie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Oslin Ogilvie Jr.; Sara Fraze Oliver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Thomason Oliver; Margaret Alexandra Pitts, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Pitts II; Melissa Jane Teel Robinson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Gordon Robinson III; Anne DeWitt Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael DeWitt Thompson; Eugenia Maxwell Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael DeWitt Thompson; Elizabeth Bailey Troiano, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Meador Troiano; Elizabeth Ann Williams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Turner Butler Williams; and Alexandra Ray Wilson, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John Stephen Wilson.

Foundation, the primary one being the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club of New York, which provides a home away from home for the men and women of the armed services. Alexandra Moore Rhett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Warren Barbour Rhett of Birmingham and Chatham, Mass., was presented at the ball. She also debuted in Birmingham, Huntsville, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, S.C. Courtney Marie Walls, daughter of Lee and Jeanne Walls of Vestavia Hills, was also presented at the International Debutante Ball. She is the granddaughter of Lee and Yvonne Walls of Birmingham and John and Ginny Waller of Hoover. Courtney was also presented at the Poinsettia Debutante Ball at Vestavia Country Club. ❖

Courtney Marie Walls

Maggie Pitts and Sarah Oliver.

Alexandra Moore Rhett


Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 15


Redstone Club Marks 105th Year

Wear Your Pride!


Mr. and Mrs. William K. Hancock and Mr. and Mrs. William Lee Thuston.


eventeen debutantes were presented at the Redstone Club’s 105th annual Christmas Ball on Dec. 12 at the Country Club of Birmingham. Those attending included the club’s president, William Lee Thuston, and his wife, Gray; Ball Chairman William K. Hancock and his wife, Susan; and Floor Committee Chairman James M. Dixon and his wife, Marilyn. Sybil Brook Sylvester of Wildflower Designs provided the decorations. The inspiration for this year’s decor came from the architecture and ambiance of the East Room at the Country Club of Birmingham. The room’s columns and arches were dressed with holiday greens and fresh holly boughs, red ilex berries, white lights, and dangling red sugar pine cones. An updated version of an early 1920s decoration from an early original Redstone Ball was a new addition to this year’s dĂŠcor. An image of the Redstone Club’s mascot, known as “The Growler,â€? was projected by a Lucite disk above the entry point for the presentees, creating the effect of a full moon keeping watch over the festivities for the evening. The debutantes presented at the ball were: Elizabeth Ann Bean, daughter Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Straub Bean; Kathryn Quinn Corey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Rushton Corey; Emily Lucille Curran, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Stockton Curran; Tullia Price Rushton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Rushton IV; Hope White Simpson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hatcher Simpson; Barbara Gage Smith, daughter of Mr. Hatton Coulbourne Valentine Smith and Ms. Virginia Ellen Jackson; Rushton Elizabeth Wood-Thuston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dixon Thuston; Frances Tate Allison, daughter of Mr. John Allison and Mrs. Dale Grisham Turnbough; Anne Hayden Bromberg, daughter of Mr. Frank Hardy Bromberg III and Mrs. Anne McMillan Bromberg; Sarah Bunnell Crosier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ray Crosier; Campbell Swann Estes, daughter of Mr. Claude Hugh Estes IV and Mrs. Shannon Keith Dunlap; Mary Wallace Hannon, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Campbell Hannon II; Madelyn Fletcher Hereford, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Schley Hereford; Mary Katherine Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Hodo Miller; Virginia DeVilliers Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Boyd Miller; Collier Dickinson Tynes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ingram D. Tynes; and Elizabeth Parker Wade, daughter of Mrs. Walter Bellingrath Sandlin Wade and the late Mr. Wade.â?–

From left: Mary Katherine Miller, Emily Lucille Curran, Mary Wallace Hannon and Elizabeth Ann Bean. $VGGMJOLT


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16 • Thursday, January 24, 2013



Snow Ball Helps Children’s Harbor Project


Benefits Sperry Snow Memorial Minature Golf Course at Lake Martin

he first Snow Ball benefiting the Sperry Snow Memorial Miniature Golf Course at Children’s Harbor Lake Martin Camp was held Dec. 8 in Birmingham. Presented by Elené and Kenny Baker, Julie and Scott Bryant, Amy and Richard Cashio, Bill Harbert, Steve Kontos, John Lauriello, Bart McCorquodale, Steve Mote, Alison Nichols and Bill Mudd, Libby and Dennis Pantazis, David Shelby and the Children’s Harbor Birmingham Advisory Council, the event featured cocktails and live music by Total Assets. The event kicked off at 8 p.m. and ended at midnight at 2116 Fifth Ave. North, across the street from the Redmont Hotel. The Snow Ball was a time to celebrate and remember the life of Sperry Snow, said Jim Ray, chief executive officer of Children’s Harbor, Inc. Sperry served on the Children’s Harbor board for six years and was a longtime friend of the Lake Martin camp for seriously ill and disabled children. The Snow Ball will help contribute to the cost of creating a handicap-accessible miniature golf course at the camp. The course will be completed this year and dedicated in Sperry’s memory. Children’s Harbor Birmingham Advisory Council members helping with the event included Richard Abernethy, Richard Cashio, Helen Crabtree, Gene Davenport, Adair DeBardeleben, Bart Fletcher, Geoff Golden, Carolyn Hartman, Melinda Helveston, Janet King, John Lauriello, Beth Marsh, Randy McClendon, Steve Mote, George Pierce and Carter Wood. ❖

Steve Kontos, Lauren Straub and Andrew Uehlin.

From left: Kenny and Elené Baker and Susan and David Burks.

Journal photos by Emil Wald

Bill Pitts and Carrie Cearlock, Sperry’s daughter.

more photos at

Steve Mote and Michelle Smith.


OLS Women Whip Up Comfort Meals for Parishioners

ozens of cooks gathered in the kitchen at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Homewood to whip up delicious dishes for a good cause. “This is a ministry of Our Lady of Sorrows Altar Sodality,” Fran Ross Robertson, one of the event’s organizers, said. “All the guild women get together on this day, and we cook food for our shut-ins and we send bags of food.” Members of the six OLS guilds participate in the event in October and February.

Altar Sodality members prepare meals for shut-ins and elderly at OLS Church in Homewood. Photo special to The Journal

Joy Ferrell, Keith Miller, Melisa Guthrie, Michelle Smith and Jackie and Jerry Crowder.

Fran said that during the big cooking day the group made enough for each shut-in to have food for three days. “It’s a wide variety of main dishes, salads, desserts and some side dishes as well,” she said, adding that one woman bakes a pound cake to go in every hand-decorated shopping bag. The ministry serves about 50 shut-ins, including Sodality members and parishioners who are sick or live alone. Fran said that those who live in nursing homes or in assisted living facilities receive bags of desserts.  “If someone is in need in our parish community, then we send them a basket as well,” Fran said.  She said all of the gift bags are delivered that day. As many as 50 women worked at the October event. Two of them developed the menu and shopped for groceries, another decorated the bags, another selected and gathered the treats and another took care of the logistics for deliveries. But the majority of them cooked.  “Everybody comes in and selects a recipe that they want to work on and starts working on it,” Fran said. Fran said the cooking day is very fulfilling to all those involved. “It’s so rewarding because the people are so thrilled,” she said. “It’s a real treat.” Fran said the ministry has been going on for several years and that it’s an honor to help those in need, especially the elderly.  “We just think it’s a wonderful thing to do because they’ve been the backbone of our church for so long, and now that they can’t get out we’re doing something for them,” she said. ❖



Exceptional Foundation Rocks With Jingle Bell Ball

he participants at the Exception Foundation presented their annual gift to the community on Dec. 19. This year’s holiday program, the Jingle Bell Ball, ended with the audience joining the 150 participants in dancing to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The program directors for this year’s holiday presentation were Catherine Honeycutt, a staff member at the Exceptional Foundation, and Davis Haines, a foundation volunteer. Foundation staff members and volunteers were among the 300 guests at the Jingle Bell Ball. Eugene Rogers is the foundation’s volunteer coordinator. Robbie Lee is its sports coordinator. Others attending included program staff members Joe Bean, Anna McGehee, Jenny Speir and Becky Morgan. The Exceptional Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with special needs enjoy social and recreational activities when they reach 21 years of age and can no longer find opportunities for social

From left: Seth and Becky Morgan join Stephen as Elvis at the Jingle Bell Ball. Photo special to The Journal

interaction within the school system. The foundation also has programs for school-age children after school and during the summer. For more information, visit ❖

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 17



Left: From left: Leigh Derouchie, SueVaughn Hicks and Jodi Young. Below: JoAnn Long and Pat Gill. Photos special to the Journal

From left: Becky Rollins, Jean Eleazer, Martha Davis and Elizabeth Ezell.

Garden Club Holds Annual Luncheon


he Cherokee Rose Garden Club held its annual Christmas luncheon at the home of Martha Davis. Serving as co-hosts were Jean Eleazer, Elizabeth Ezell and Becky Rollins. The active garden club, organized in 1969, is dedicated to the beautification of Cherokee Bend and has ongoing projects throughout the year. Before Christmas, Ann Dodson leads the group in arranging fresh swags for light posts throughout the area. Red roses, peonies and anemone arrangements were displayed throughout the home for the luncheon. Fires all aglow and brightly-lit Christmas trees enhanced the festive occasion. Member and former Miss Mississippi Missy Fooshee delighted guests as she sang “Silent Night.” The luncheon menu included chicken breast piccata, haricots verts and diced butternut squash, with homemade fudge pie and peppermint ice cream for dessert. Charter members at the event were Jean Curry, the club’s first president, along with Ann Dodson and Beth Henderson. New members enjoying the festivities were Elizabeth Hill, Virginia Stewart and Betty Welden. Others at the luncheon were Ginger Ballard, Laura Colbeck, Martha Hastings, Sadie Jackson, Nancye Lawrence, Kay Littleton, Nancy Mauldin, Ann Sanders, Second Vice President Kim Edmunds and Corresponding Secretary Carolyn Neiman. ❖

Nan Russell, Lauren Haynes and Ginger Ballard.


Greystone Christmas Tradition Continues

at Gill and her granddaughter Chandler Young, 9, held their annual Christmas party on Dec. 6 in Greystone. The Christmas tradition started several years ago when Pat and Bill Gill would host open house events. The couple opened their home to their neighbors during the holidays until Bill’s death in 2005. To continue the tradition, Pat said she decided to have a Ladies’ Christmas Party with the help of her granddaughter. The talented grandmother-granddaughter team have planned the event, made invitations, gifts and treats for the party together each year. Neighbors and friends say they look forward to the annual event and have enjoyed watching Chandler become

the “hostess with the mostest” over the years. Guests attending this year’s event included Carolyn and Lockett LaGroue, Karen Benton, Ellen Burton, Georgia Hathaway, SueVaughn Hicks, Carol Key, JoAnn Long, Marian Moon, Sylvia Nichols, Geraldine Porter, Joan Reitta, Rose Stephenson, Joan VanDerVeer, Rita Wallace, Jennie West, Joyce Wood, Carol Watson, Tracey Derouchie and Jodie Young. ❖

Missy Fooshee sings “Silent Night”. Photos special to The Journal

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18 • Thursday, January 24, 2013


Symphony Volunteer Council Hosts Party


aTeam Ministries invites you to attend

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Participating professional artists Donny Finley Lila Graves Jennifer Harwell Daniel A. Moore Katie Robinson Jamie Wilson Janice Wood

© 2013 Alabama Power Company

What is it that makes us different here?

he Symphony Volunteer Council ushered in the holiday season Dec. 2 with a party at the Club Room of the Regency Summit. SVC member Nancy Van Wanderham was host for the annual event. SVC members and their guests were greeted by festive seasonal décor as they entered the spacious room overlooking Birmingham. Many party-goers enjoyed the balmy winter afternoon on the adjoining terrace. A buffet of sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres was accompanied by eggnog and a wine bar. SVC member Mimi Jackson provided piano music. She was joined for a duet at the keyboard by Dr. Michael Meeks, executive director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts. SVC President Kathie Ramsey invited members to enjoy a trio of holiday concerts by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra: Cirque de Symphonie on Dec. 8, Handel’s Messiah on Dec.15 and 16 and a Viennese Celebration at the Alabama Theater on Dec. 31. She also reminded everyone about the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra’s free performances at the Riverchase Galleria food court. Lois Pickard Scholarship Luncheon Chairman Terry Standridge announced that the 2013 luncheon will be on Feb. 14 at the Vestavia Country Club. There will be a silent auction at 10 a.m. followed by the luncheon and performances by the Lois Pickard Scholars. President Kathie Ramsey thanked Nancy Van Wanderham for hosting

Maybe it’s just knowing when to help. Here in Alabama, some people are having trouble paying their bills. You can help us help them. Just make a small donation to Project SHARE on your next Alabama Power bill. Or give online at ProjectSHARE. Together with the American Red Cross we can show everyone what makes us different here.

POWI-2937_ProjectShare_3.792.indd 1


12/3/12 9:59 AM

From left: Virginia Guthrie, Roberta Atkinson, Diane Ray and Jim Atkinson. Photo special to The Journal

the holiday event, Vice Presidents of Hospitality Shirley Brown and Martha Black for the refreshments, Bob Brown and Bob Black for bartending and Mimi Jackson and Dr. Michael Meeks for the musical entertainment. Those at the well-attended gathering included Roberta and Jim Atkinson, Jo Ann and Jack Harkins, Dixie and Bill Ayers, Mary Wimberley, Emily Omura, Shirl and Ron Ward, Lin and Jim Musgrove, Bonnie and Anthony Cicio, Fay Hart, Lu and Charles Moss, Virginia and Shine Guthrie, Gloria Braeme, Lynne and Michael Meeks, Wilma Stewart, Linda Brassell, Frances Charles, Jon Clemmensen, Linda and Mike Griggs, Sandra and Bill Annonio, Faye and Buddy Black, Harriet and John Maloof, Phyllis and Tom

Davis, Nancy and Bart Morrow, Jean and David Hendrickson, Corinne Greer, Clairee Clarke, Gailya Graves Sargent and John Talmadge. Others attending the event included Martha and Bob Black, Shirley and Bob Brown, Liz and Tom Warren, Terry and Jack Standridge, Debby Kristofco, Diane and Herb Rossmeisl, Kathie and Pringle Ramsey, Nancy Van Wanderham, Diane Ray, Patricia Penfield, Charlotte and Steve Clarkson, Jonnie and Rich Venglik, Tora Johnson, Peggy and Bob Roberts, Mimi Jackson, Betty and Lowell Womack, Sue Watkins, Jane Williams, Margie and Robert Denton, Edith and Robert Bauman, Linda Barwick, Bettie Davenport, Cheree and Eric Carlton, Faye Fulmur and Darlene Gray. ❖

of golden mirrored mosaic pieces. Guests enjoyed eggnog before the seated luncheon of she-crab soup, grilled salmon and a medley of roasted vegetables. Dessert was pumpkin roulage. Party favors of Santa hats and reindeer antlers were at the tables for each guest. Following the luncheon, members enjoyed singing familiar Christmas melodies accompanied by member Susan Murphy on the piano. Enjoying the festivities were Linda Allison, Joy Clark, Nita Cox, Brenda Dailey, Carolyn Delk, ABOVE: From left: Cindy Mims, Betty Margaret Betty Margaret Elliott, Elliott, Betty Weeks, Joy Clark, Brenda Dailey Cynthia Egan, Shirley and Peggy Kelly. LEFT: Adrienne OʼBrien and Nita Cox. Photos special to The Journal Evans, Romaine Gaffney, Barbara Hart, Rachel he Ladies Golf Association of Howland, Peggy Kelley, Vestavia Country Club hosted its Leslie Kincaid and Nell Larson. annual Christmas party Dec. 13. Also spotted at the party were The theme of the event was “An Jenny Lewis, Peggy Lowery, Betty Old-Fashioned Christmas.” The room McDaniel, Cindy Mims, Lovie was decorated with wall hangings of Montgomery, Mary Edwards holiday wreaths trimmed with gold Mueller, Susan Murphy, Patsy mesh ribbons and miniature red and Norton, Adrienne O’Brien, Peggy gold ornaments. Swags of greenery Putnam, Reba Ribe, Patti Salmon, were anchored with ornaments of Vicki Sanders, Helen Smalley, Cille green, red and gold. The focal point Spader, Sue Strozier, Betty Tucker, of the room was an arrangement of Judy Tavakoli, Marylou Willings, five tall cone-shaped “trees” made Betty Weeks and Jane Young. ❖

Golf Association Gathers for Christmas


Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 19



Dance Club Hosts Annual Holiday Party

From left: Janet Sanders, Norah Banks and Robine Wright.

From left: Janet Harden, Doris Kenny, Nancy Coggin, Vicki Barnes and Noel Tidwell. Photo special to The Journal


Cheramis Dance Club Celebrates the Season

hristmas came early for the Cheramis Dance Club as members danced to the music of the Tradewinds at Vestavia Country Club on Nov. 30.  Before dinner, attendees gathered in the festively decorated ballroom for cocktails and conversation. Round tables were covered in white linen with red napkins. Elegant center arrangements included a large white candle inside a glass surrounded by magnolia leaves, red berries and white spider mums. Jane Crouch’s committee included Vickie Barnes, first vice president, and Joyce Kelly. There were 116 at the dance, including 12 guests and four new club members. Members there were President Noel Tidwell, Vice President Vicki Barnes, Secretary Nancy Coggin, Treasurer Doris Kenny and Parliamentarian Janet Harden. Also at the dance were two new members, Nell Baird and Judith Beavers. Guests included Pam and Dave Sewell, John and Deb Sellers, Virginia Bernitz and Allan Blackwell, Wanda and Stewart Able, Meredith Harris, Perry and Inez Donahoo and Bennie Campbell.  Others enjoying the dancing and dinner included Colleen Adams and Mitch Mitchell, Dianne and George Adams, Nell and Don Baird, Vicki and Bob Barnes, Betty and Ron Bassinger, Jeanie Box and Ben Smith, Jean and Terry Chase, Nancy and Tom Coggin, Jane Crouch and Frank Jones, Joyce and Frank Dill, Alice and Tony Ellison, Sharon Franks and Ron Haley, Penny and Don Gebbs, Margie and Tom George, Margarita and Arthur Gracianette, Barbara and Hugh Harbin, Brenda and Ray Harris, Lonita and Don Hilliard and Reba Huffman and Stan Biggs. Also spotted at the party were Elaine and Bobby Hughes, Jessica Ireland and Rod Shirley, Beverly and George Jackson, Marilyn Kelly and Willie Larson, Jerrie Kitchens and Carl Harris, Mary and Elmer Klemenc, Zella Listerman and Eustace BellingOer, Wilda and Larry Lunsford, Lynda Matson

and Bob Francis, Sissy and Charles Matthews, Joan Meeks and Howard Clowdus, Mollie and Bill Midlik, Jean Morton and Joe Wesley, Yvonne and John Norton, Barbara Pilato and Dave Woods, Lisa and Bob Powers, Jaki and Bill Qualls and Shirley and Duby Rierson. Others attending the event included Howell Scott and Paul Chapman, Fairfax and Ed Segner, Tere and Bill Shepherd, Regina Smith and Louis Cheney, Bess and Alan Speegle, Ann and Stewart Swindle, Faye Sykes and Curtis Miller, Noel and J.P. Tidwell, Martha and Bon Vick, Robin and Richard Ward, Betty and Wally Womack and Peggy and Chandlar Yarnall. ❖

Art Association Raises Money For Wishes


he Mountain Brook Art Association’s Holiday Show at Colonial Brookwood Mall raised $5,241 for Make-a-Wish of Alabama. Part of the fun was the auction of a football autographed by Nick Saban. There was also a contest among art association members with the winning painting selected by the Make-a-Wish staff. The winning painting, created by Anita Bice, will be used in the 2013 Make-a-Wish advertising campaign. This was the fifth year of the holiday show, which was previously held in English Village. This year’s show was in the space vacated by Gus Mayer. Eighty Mountain Brook Art Association members had paintings on display at the show. All of the artists featured in the show live within a 25-mile radius of Mountain Brook City Hall. ❖

To: From: Date:

The Camelot Dance Club held its annual Holiday Party Dec. 5 at the home of Vestavia Hills resident Dot Renneker. Chairman of the event was Delores Wood. On the event committee were DeLoris Donnegan, Nancy Welch, Cheryl Hardwick, Judy Smith, Mary Ann Prewitt, Joan Palenstini and Gail McArthur. Pat Brandstadt is the president of the Camelot Dance Club. ❖

From left: DeLoris Donnegan, Delores Wood, chairman, and Dot Renneker, hostess. Photo special to The Journal


Summit mOving Sale EntirE invEntory on salE thru sunday, January 27,2013 PlEasE visit our nEw location in homEwood coming soon


Ken Rosenberger Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax January 2013

This is your aD pROOF from the OveR The MOunTain JOuRnal for the Jan. 10, 2013 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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

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

Thank you for your prompt attention.

20 • Thursday, January 24, 2013



From left: Preston and Sue Trammel with Liz and Ron Moore.

The Gardens Honors Volunteers

Photos special to The Journal

Amulets Kick up Their Heels at Dinner-Dance


spacious ballroom decorated with towering Christmas trees and garlands of greenery glistening with white lights greeted Amulet Club members when they arrived for their annual Christmas dinner-dance at Vestavia Country Club on Dec. 11. Round tables for dining were centered with miniature trees decked in colorful ornaments. The Max Groove band played during dinner and for dancing afterward. Co-chairmen for the event were Ann Harris and Beverly Jackson. Barbara Jones is president of Amulet Club, now in its 57th year. Among those enjoying the spirit of the season were Edith and Bob Bauman, Martha and Bob Black, Cheree and Eric Carlton, Peggy and Ralph Coleman, Dot Crook and John Creel, Phyllis and Tom Davis, Sally and Jeff Fried and Janine and A.D. Goode. Also spotted were Ann and Sonny Harris, Fay Hart and Jim Hawk, Margaret and William Howell, Beverly and George Jackson, Barbara and Bobby Jones,

From left: Betsy Fleenor, Ann Katholi, Sallie Lee, Ty Keith and Helena UberWamble. Photo special to The Journal


irmingham Botanical Gardens held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Dec. 13 to recognize those who volunteer in The Gardens’ educational mission. Cathy Adams was presented with the Ida C. Burns Volunteer of the Year Award for her continual service in many areas of the organization and for her significant impact on the Gardens. Ann Katholi was presented with the A. Brandon Walton Jr. Unsung Hero of the Year Award for her independent and behind-the-scenes contributions. Birmingham’s Audubon Society was recognized as the Birmingham

Roy and Phyllis Tinsley.

Eric and Cheree Carlton.

Elizabeth Judd, Rusty and Don Kirkpatrick, Nell and Al Larson and Jennie and Jim Lewis. Others enjoying the evening of food, fun and fellowship were Gloria and Kenneth Lundberg, Betsy

McGrath, Liz and Ron Moore, Anne and Kenneth Nelson, Sue Patrick, Kathie and Pringle Ramse and Evelyn and William Ringler. Also at the annual holiday event were Deborah and John Sellers, Ginger and Art Sharbel, Phyllis and Roy Tinsley, Sue and Preston Trammel, Olivia and Eugene Weingarten, Janis Zeanah, Sandi and Conrad Whitten and Betty and Lowell Womack. ❖

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Botanical Gardens Partner of the Year for helping the Gardens multiply its efforts and achieve its mission. Betty Fleenor was named the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Plantperson of the Year for sharing her plant knowledge and skills with other volunteers. Sallie Lee was presented with the Educator of the Year Award for her educational efforts promoting public knowledge and appreciation of plants, gardens and the environment. The potluck luncheon was held in Strange Auditorium, with music provided by the Crestwood Trio. ❖

From left: Vestavia Hills Mayor Albert “Butch” Zaragoza, Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley, Patricia Barr and Diane Zaragoza. Photo special to The Journal

State’s First Lady Speaks to GOP Women

Alabama’s First Lady Dianne Bentley was the guest speaker at the Nov. 26 meeting of the Republican Women of the South at Vestavia Country Club. RWOS is a local women’s club promoting an informed electorate and fostering loyalty to Republican ideals of government. The club meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at Vestavia Country Club. The club also met on Jan. 23. For more information, visit www. ❖


Laura Ellene Crisler and William Albert Gresham Jr. were married Oct. 20 at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood. Dr. Gary Fenton officiated the ceremony. A reception followed at The Club of Birmingham. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert William Crisler of Vestavia Hills. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Albert Gresham of Norfolk, Va. Given in marriage by her father, the bride chose a formal gown of Alencon lace. The strapless sweetheart gown



Dr. and Mrs. David Denney of Mountain Brook announce the engagement of their daughter, Shannon Elizabeth, to Peter Alexander Brasovan, son of Dr. Srbislav Brasovan and Ms. Laura Brasovan of Crown Point, Ind. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Lazarus

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 21

weddings & engagements


featured a molded bodice. A jeweled belt of silk encircled the natural waistline. The circular skirt of lace swept to an extended chapel train. The bride wore her mother’s cathedral-length veil. The maid of honor was Rebecca Lyn Crisler, sister of the bride. Bridesmaids were Dr. Michelle Koch Davis, Madoline Marie Markham, Lauren Annette Rucker and Mary Frances Wilks. Rachel Elizabeth Collins, cousin of the bride, was guest book attendant. The groom’s father was his best man. Groomsmen were Thomas Ellis Gresham and Charles Forbes Gresham, brothers of the groom, Phillip Raymond Hage, Dr. Andrew Kessler Johnson, and Charles Clayton Blackwell McCoy. The bride is a graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and the University of Memphis with a master’s degree in speech language pathology. She is employed by the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. The groom is a graduate of Norfolk Academy and HampdenSydney College with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He is employed by E.T. Gresham Company. After a honeymoon trip to Costa Rica, the couple live in Norfolk. Mr. and Mrs. William James Evans of Fredericksburg, Va., announce the engagement of their daughter, Caroline Eliza Evans of Homewood, to Daniel Hunter Dunavant of Birmingham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Wayne Dunavant of Vestavia Hills. Miss Evans is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is employed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System in the marketing department. Mr. Dunavant is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Georgia School of Law. He is employed by CRC Insurance as a wholesale insurance broker. The wedding will be April 13 in Fredericksburg. and the late Mrs. Sonia Rosen Lazarus, all of Birmingham, and Dr. and Mrs. Calvin Denney of Dothan. Miss Denney is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and Point Park University in Pittsburgh, where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre and a minor in dance. She is a member of Actors Equity Association and is a yoga and fitness instructor. Miss Denney is employed as the client advocate with ExactTarget in Indianapolis. The prospective groom is the grandson of Ms. Betty Peters of Crown Point. Mr. Brasovan is a graduate of Merrillville High School and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where he received bachelor’s degrees in marketing and supply chain management and played Division 1 college soccer. He is coowner and a CrossFit coach at CrossFit NapTown in Indianapolis. The wedding is planned for May 18 at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham with a reception to follow at The Club.


Melissa Ann Moore and David Benjamin Shipper were married Dec. 29 at Independent Presbyterian Church. Dr. Conrad Sharps officiated the ceremony. A reception followed at

the Country Club of Birmingham. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John David Moore of Mountain Brook. She is the granddaughter of Mrs. John Jordan Cowin Sr. of Mountain Brook and the late Mr. John Jordan Cowin Sr., the late Mrs. Judith Wilson Blevins of Lexington, Ky., and the late Mr. Verner Moore of Lexington. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Keith Skidmore of Jewell, Texas, and the late Mr. Darryl Wayne Shipper of Texas. He is the grandson of Mrs. Wanda Blackmon and the late Mr. Leroy Blackmon, the late Jimmy Lee Shipper and the late Mrs. Ima Jean Shipper, all of Texas. The bride is a cum laude graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in art history. She is employed with Oakstone Publishing as a website media con-

sultant. The groom is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He has a master’s degree in business administration from Auburn University at Montgomery and is employed at Compass Bank as a publicity director. Given in marriage by her father, the bride was attended by her sister, Mary Jordan Moore, as maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Kathryn Paige Deppe, Porter Fitzhugh Jennings, Megan Hua Shaul, Allison Carvill Van Glahn Slocum, Lindsey Christina Turner and Elizabeth Ann Varnell. Mark Leonard Maillet was best man. Groomsmen were Matthew Todd Collier; Andrew Lee Conaway; John Christopher Moore, brother of the bride; Tucker Lee Shipper; Jamie Lamar Thompson; and Kevin Scott Van Hyning. After a honeymoon trip to Jamaica, the couple lives in Birmingham.


Mr. and Mrs. Clark Rodgers Hammond of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Margaret McClure Hammond, to William Carter Manuel II, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald William Manuel of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Worthy Newton of Birmingham, the late Mr. George Kilby Hammond of Toledo, Ohio, and the late Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Hagen of Summit, N.J. Miss Hammond is a 2002 graduate of Mountain Brook High School, a 2006 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Phi Mu sorority, and a 2010 graduate of Cumberland School of Law. She was presented at the Heritage Ball and the Redstone Club Ball. She is a member of the Junior League of Birmingham and the Birmingham Bar Association. Miss Hammond is employed locally as an attorney. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mr. William Carter Manuel and the late Mrs. William Carter Manuel of Birmingham and Mrs. Thomas Blair Cox Sr. and the late Mr. Thomas Blair Cox Sr. of Birmingham. Mr. Manuel is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He is employed as a property manager with CLK. The wedding is planned for April.

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Hollywood Star Young Couple’s Efforts Shine in Massive Home Renovation



randon and Maggy Dill won’t mark their first wedding anniversary until Aug. 4, but they’ve already got a reason to celebrate. The young couple recently completed an extensive renovation of a house on Homewood’s Hollywood Boulevard – and “extensive” might be a bit of an understatement. Before their wedding last summer, the Dills had tentative plans to live in Maggy’s condo. Then Maggy’s parents, Alan and Suzanne Pizzitola, convinced her to take a look at a 1930s-era cottage in the city’s historic Hollywood neighborhood. “The house had been vacant for about a year,” Maggy said. “We walked the premises and peeped in the windows. My mom called the real estate agent so we could go inside. We did a walkthrough, and I brought my camera. “I fell head over heels in love with the house,” Maggy said.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: Graceful archways create an easy flow between living spaces but are in keeping with the houseʼs Tudor-style architecture. Maggy and Brandon Dill loved architect Cherri Pittsʼ bright idea: adding an upper floor to their Hollywood Boulevard house. With help from her mother, Suzanne Pizzitola, Maggy Dill made the master bedroom invitingly sophisticated. Brandon and Maggy Dill.

It wasn’t quite love at first sight for Brandon, who was at the time living and working in Columbus, Miss. His first reaction to the house was that it would need lots of work, he said.


Initial Attraction

First-time homebuyers are attracted to Over the Mountain neighborhoods for the same reasons as other homebuyers, according to Anna Frances Bradley, a real estate agent at LAH in Homewood. The area’s schools, close-knit communities and proximity to business and recreation opportunities continue to make Over the Mountain communities attractive to homebuyers, Anna Frances said. “I work with a lot of first-time homebuyers, and they are concerned about the same things that most homebuy-

Over the Mountain Neighborhoods Appeal to First-time Homebuyers, Realtor Says


ers are concerned about--they want good schools, a good community and a good commute,” she said. Anna Francessaid she and her husband, Guy, who is also a real estate agent, love to work with people who are buying their first home. “It’s exciting to be a part of that process. The home-

“There was water damage, and I knew it would need new electrical and plumbing,” he said. Maggy and Brandon, however, were able to see past the negatives and envision the house as the home of their dreams. “We saw it would give us room to grow, and we loved the neighborhood,” Maggy said. Maggy said she loved growing up in Homewood, and the thought of staying in her hometown appealed to her. Living near her parSee HOLLYWOOD, page 24

owners are so excited and that gets you excited. A lot of times, these people have just gotten married or have their first real job, and you get to be a part of that time of their lives,” she said. With the recession and downturn in the real estate market, Anna Frances said she’s seen fewer first-time homebuyers in the last five years than she did in the previous 10 years. “But it’s starting to pick up again, and I think people are feeling more confident about putting down roots now,” she said. In the Over the Mountain area, Anna Frances said See FIRST TIME, page 25



Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 23

al new business called Coop and Caboodle. Those who long for fresh free-range eggs – and for an out-ofthe-ordinary family hobby – can rent • Eliminate Clutter • Bedrooms/Bathrooms two chickens and a coop. Melissa • Kitchen/Laundry Rooms • Family Rooms/Garage Areas throws in grain and a tutorial. Who are her customers? Moving or Remodeling “Mountain Brook doctors,” she •Eliminate clutter/stage and set up your rooms said with a smile. •Pack/Unpack/Coordinate all moving arrangements On a more serious note, Melissa •Estate/Garage Sales said most people intrigued by Coop and Caboodle know the benefits dody rookis 205-873-0302 – health-wise and taste-wise -- of free-range eggs produced by chickens raised in a healthy way. “Our chickens get no antibiotics,” Melissa said. “Commercial chickens are given antibiotics to process their To: Dody food more rapidly, which speedsFrom: up Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., the growth process. What takes me 205-824-1246, fax six months, they do in six weeks.” Date: Jan 2013 Melissa feeds her chickens with non-GMO heritage grains, which This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Journal for the means the grain hasn’t been genetiJan. 24, 2013 issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to approve your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changes to 824-1246. cally modified. “It’s what our grandparents used,” Please make sure all information is correct, she said. including address and phone number! The Coop and Caboodle chickens likely count themselves luckier than their commercial counterparts. They please initial and fax back within 24 hours. aren’t confined to tiny spaces but are 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. free to roam. Melissa said longtime acquainThank you for your prompt attention. tances may be surprised to learn about her new business. The Samford University graduate attended the Memphis Culinary Academy and worked in event planning and fundraising. But she grew up loving farm Kathy’s Designer Kitchens, Inc. life, she said. Her family lived in 1831 29th Ave. S. • Homewood, AL 35209

organize it now

Melissa Allphin feeds a few of the 120 hens she has on her Shelby County farm as part of chicken and coop rental business. Journal phots by Lee Walls Jr.

Hen Party

Melissa Allphin’s New Business Rents out Chickens and Coops By Donna Cornelius

Journal Features Writer

A photographer making pictures in Melissa Allphin’s backyard got to use a phrase he said he’d always wanted to use: “Let’s get the girls on the set!” In this case, “chick” would be a better word than “chic” to describe his models. That’s because Melissa’s “girls” are hens.

Her three feathered friends have their own stylish coop and come readily when Melissa approaches with their favorite foods – sprouts, yogurt and a healthy grain blend. But the trio is just a small part of Melissa’s flock. She has about 120 hens that live on a Shelby County farm. The reason she has so many chickens? She rents them out. Last fall, Melissa started an unusu-

See Hen Party, page 25

205-871-9880 • Kathy Owens, CKD, President

24 • Thursday, January 24, 2013

Specializing in residential property management Tammy Richardson, AHSAA Hall of Fame-retired head volleyball coach and athletic director at Pelham High School has recently joined the Alabama Rental Managers team as Accounts and Marketing Executive. “This is a perfect fit for me. The ARM team is a progressive group of individuals who have the same core values that are in line with mine. Working with a team who place integrity at the helm of their company was the most important quality I was looking for in a job upon my return from Mobile. Combining my experience in public relations at the local, state and national levels with their future goals made sense for both of us. I am excited to be a part of a honest and hard working team here at Alabama Rental Managers.” We manage homes in the most desirable areas of Birmingham and the surrounding metropolitan area. Our progressive team understands that consistently working to improve the quality of service and attention to detail are the best ways to provide comfortable communities for the families who have chosen our rentals. Our goal is to provide our clients with management solutions that help their properties operate smoothly, increase in desirability and enhance investment value. That’s why property owners throughout the country depend on us to help achieve their goals of property performance and profitability for their rentals located in Alabama. We provide a full range of services to investment property owners including real estate management, leasing, administration and accounting. The ARM team understand the importance oflocating prospective clients who see the potential in rental property investment. We provide a “personal” touch for both the investor and the resident. We treat each home as if it was our own home. Give us a call if you or anyone you know is looking for a home to rent or if you have a home you would like to use as an rental property. For more information about Alabama Rental Managers please call 205-824-5008 or visit their website:

HOME ents, whose house is a short distance away on English Circle, was another draw, she said. While the original footprint of the house was maintained, except for addition of the master bathroom, major changes inside and outside gave the cottage a new lease on life. One of the keys to a successful renovation, Maggy and Brandon said, is having the right people on your team. Recruited almost right away to help the couple carry out their vision for the house was architect Cherri Pitts of Studio C Architects and Interiors in Birmingham. Maggy and Brandon had planned to finish the house’s basement to add usable space, but Cherri suggested going in another direction: up. “Cherri came to us and said, ‘Don’t freak out, but what about adding a second story?’” Maggy said. “That hadn’t even crossed our minds, but it turned out to be a great alternative to finishing the basement right away.” Cherri’s plan maintained the house’s charming Tudor style while adding curb appeal and extra space. While the upper floor isn’t completely finished, the Dills wisely prepared for the day when they will need more room. “Everything’s plumbed in with the electrical panel, framing, air conditioning – it just needs finishing,” Brandon said. The top floor, which already holds Maggy’s workroom, is all set for two bedrooms, a Jack and Jill bathroom, a spacious TV and playroom plus plenty of storage space. Brandon said he thought it was important to do as much work as possible during the renovation process. To that end, the sheetrock was torn out and replaced, as were the unusable existing hardwood floors. A new driveway was added, and new electrical and plumbing systems were installed. “It would have been stupid not to do as much as we could” while the major work was going on, Brandon said. The couple had high praise for their contractor, George Kurttts of Kurtts Construction. Maggy was familiar with his work on the Pizzitola family’s lake house but soon got to know him even better. “He became almost like my grandfather,” Maggy said. “He’d say, ‘This is what you need to do to get the look you want.’” Brandon is the owner of Southern


Brandon Dill owns Southern Fireplaces Homewood and chose several of his latest gas models for his home. One fireplace adds a touch of luxury in the master bathroom, above left. Another gives the sitting area in the living room, top right, a warm glow. In the kitchen, bottom right, avid cook Maggy has plenty of work surfaces, including this island with a cooktop. Adjacent are the bar and dining room. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

Fireplaces Homewood and thus has worked with many contractors, he said. “George is one of the best,” Brandon said. “He was here for every stage of the job and very hands-on.” During the construction process, Brandon would come to Homewood on the weekends to check out the progress as well as to spend time with his fiancée. “When I’d come in on Fridays, George was always here,” he said. With their contractor’s help, Maggy and Brandon focused on transforming the house’s main level into a space that combines traditional elements appropriate to the historic neighborhood with contemporary flair. Archways were added or enlarged to create a smooth flow from room to room and to add architectural interest. The most striking arch is between the hallway and the kitchen – which is Maggy’s favorite room. “I love to cook. I cook every meal,” she said. In keeping with the house’s eclectic flavor, the kitchen combines sleek stainless steel appliances with a copper sink, glazed cabinets, two different hard-surface countertops and distinctive tiling. “I wanted a place for everything – a drawer for this or that, a spice rack here,” Maggy said. “I got to pick the microwave,” Brandon said with a smile. Michelle Cone of Kenny and Company, a Birmingham kitchen, bath, tile and plumbing showroom, helped the Dills find just the right touches.

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“I could print out photos of several bathrooms and tell Michelle that I liked this particular tile in one photo and the fixtures in another,” Maggy said. “She’d find almost identical things – and all were within our budget. “If we needed to change things, she was really good about making time for us.” Maggy and Brandon said they were also very pleased with their custom cabinets, made by Randy Burnham of Burnham Cabinetry. When the couple bought the house, the main level had three bedrooms, a small master bath and another bathroom shared by the two guest bedrooms. The renovation reduced the number of bedrooms on the main floor to two. But since more bedrooms can easily be added upstairs or in the basement, the change was worth it, the Dills said – especially since it provided room for a luxurious master bathroom and large walk-in closet with a vanity area. Brandon wired the entire house for the speaker system and TVs. Unsurprisingly, he also added three handsome gas fireplaces in the living room, master bedroom and even the master bath. Easily operated by remote control, the fireplaces aren’t just cosmetically beautiful but also practical, producing more warmth than many older gas models. “We haven’t even had to turn on our central heat this year,” Maggy said. Maggy said her parents were instrumental in helping the young couple with their renovation. The

Pizzitolas had expert guidance to offer through their years in the furniture business. “My mom is known as the ‘decorating guru’ among her friends,” Maggy said. “She and I worked together every step of the way. And my dad helped us with financial advice. “I’m so grateful to both my parents for helping us achieve our dream.” The Dills said they love coming home to their old-but-new house every night. Maggy, a nanny, was introduced to Brandon by a mutual friend after the two had graduated from college. Maggy studied interior design at the University of Alabama, where her father was an All-SEC defensive back, and Brandon played baseball on scholarship at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. Demolition on their house started in November 2011, and re-framing began the following February. “Everything started coming into form during the summer,” Maggy said. Planning a wedding and overseeing a home renovation might have sent some young women into a tizzy – but not Maggy. “I had a white binder for the house with everything from photos to paint colors and receipts,” she said. “And I had a pink binder for all the wedding stuff.” Thanks to their own clear vision of transforming the house and to the team they assembled – family members and professionals alike – Maggy and Brandon were able to achieve another goal. They spent their first night as a married couple in their new home. ❖


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Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 25



of a “chicken condo.” It’s a swankier model, built by a master Huffman, but they builder, which can house 4-8 birds. were frequently at her from page 23 The rental program is for six months, with a basic package grandparents’ farm in costing $325. Her top price, she said, is $375. Chalkville. The hens produce about a dozen eggs per week, Melissa “We had beef cattle, chickens and geese,” she said. “I’d said. be up at 5:30 in the morning to feed the cows and ride my She rents the hens in pairs because “a chicken needs a horse.” friend,” she said. “They’re very social. If they’re separated, While Melissa already had a connection to farming and they mourn.” to animals – her dad was a veterinarian – and to food, her For those who want to buy chicks, Melissa said she knows interest in healthy eating increased while helping her son Carl 2718 19th Place S. • Homewood lots of chicken breeders and Dupree fight leukemia. 803.1118 • 901.8292 can help with selections. Carl, she said, developed Melissa and husband the disease when he was Barry live in an unincorthree years old. He’s now 20. porated area of Jefferson “He had his last treatment County, a short drive from 15 years ago,” Melissa said. U.S. 280. “Recently, though, we had a “I moved here so I could scare when we thought his have chickens,” she said. cancer had returned. He was “Birmingham is just one in architecture school and street over.” wasn’t eating right. I put him However, many city zonback on healthy eating, like I ing laws don’t expressly prodid when he had cancer.” hibit chickens, she said. Thankfully, the alarm “But in most places, you was false. But it made can’t have roosters because Melissa re-focus on the benof noise ordinances,” she efits of a healthy diet. The inspiration for Coop Melissa Allphin rents out her chickens and coops to people said. who want to see if raising chickens is right for their homes. Two chickens and their and Caboodle came when a To: Brandon Journal photo by Lee Walls Jr. coop don’t pose a space speaker at Melissa’s church From: Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., problem for most homeowners, Melissa said. told her about a similar business in Wisconsin. 205-824-1246, fax “People have chickens in Manhattan,” she said. “She told me the person couldn’t keep enough coops Date: Oct. Melissa will have a Coop and Caboodle exhibit at the .2012 built,” Melissa said. upcoming Birmingham Home and Garden show Feb. 14-17 Melissa sought the advice of an accountant friend, who This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL fo at the BJCC. To learn more about the business, visit www. told her that the business was viable. Nov. 1, 2012 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246 Melissa bought her first chickens last October. After some Melissa’s family is a large one. Besides her son Carl, research, she chose handsome golden-brown chickens called she has a 24-year-old daughter, Claire Dupree, who lives in Buff Orpingtons. Please make sure all information is correct Auburn. Barry’s children are son Matthew, daughter-in-law “They’re natural foragers, which lay the best eggs,” she including address and phone number! said. “And they’re very docile birds that even a child can pick Christin and granddaughter Mackenzie; another son, Michael, passed away. up.” “We have also ‘adopted’ a Chinese student from Melissa said her rental program is a good way for people Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. Samford,” Melissa said. “What was to be a three-month host to see if theirs is a chicken-friendly family. If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, stay has turned into her college home. Her name is Rachel “It’s a good family project,” she said. “You can be a fairyour ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Wang, and she is from Beijing.” weather farmer. I can bring the chickens in the spring and Decorator Fabrics • Hardware • Trimattention. Thank you for your prompt The family also includes two dogs – and, of course, pick them up in the fall.” She has two models of coops and is now awaiting delivery Melissa’s “girls.”❖ 1820 Greensprings Highway 322-5878


from page 22

the top five neighborhoods where first-time homebuyers are looking to put down those roots include Edgewood in Homewood, Crestwood in Birmingham, Cahaba Heights in Vestavia Hills, Bluff Park in Hoover and Oak Mountain in North Shelby. Anna Frances said first-time homeowners are attracted to Edgewood’s walkability and neighborhood feel. “The walkability of Edgewood is the number one thing for a lot of my clients. They can walk to schools, to church, to stores and restaurants,” she said. “Edgewood has super-friendly neighbors and is really charming. It also has that close proximity to downtown and to the major highways,” Anna Frances said. In Vestavia Hills, Cahaba Heights is getting a lot of attention from firsttime homeowners, Anna Frances said. “It kind of has that country feel, but now that it has been annexed into Vestavia Hills, you have the benefits of the Vestavia Hills schools and services, and the location is great,” she said. Hoover’s Bluff Park neighborhood continues to be popular with her clients, she said. “It is one of those established neighborhoods that people are attracted to because it has lots of charm, great schools and they are adding to the sidewalks that are already there, and

that makes it attractive to young families,” she said. Neighborhoods in Oak Mountain are also luring homebuyers who are looking for a good deal, Anna Frances said. “You can get a lot more house in those neighborhoods for the money. The schools are county schools, but they are good schools, and although it is a little bit down the road, it is still not too far of a commute for people that work downtown,” she said. Crestwood in Birmingham is also Anna Frances Bradley, a realtor with LAH in Homewood, says Over the Mountain homes are popular with first-time homebuyers.

getting renewed attention for those looking to put down roots, Anna Frances said. “Most of the houses there were built between the late 1920s and the early 1960s, so they are the perfect size for starter homes. Because you’re in Birmingham, the taxes are a little lower and there, you really are in the first suburb outside downtown. It is a safe, tight-knit community,” she said.

Anna Frances said no matter which neighborhood they decide to buy in, she advises first-time homeowners to get the help of a real estate agent. “If this is your first time going through the process, it can be a little overwhelming, and you really do need an agent to help guide you through it,” she said. Anna Frances said buying a home, especially for first-timers, can be an emotional experience. She said she advises first-time homebuyers to get a home inspection and to ask a lot of questions. Anna Frances said she tells all of her clients to trust their own instincts about the home that is right for them. “You have to trust your gut. Sometimes, that’s what it comes down to--a feeling you have,” she said. “I’ve seen it on my clients’ faces when they walk into a home and instantly, they are relaxed and they feel like it’s a good fit. It’s very rewarding to see that.” Anna Frances said finding the right house for first-time homeowners is all about listening to them and helping them realize that the place they buy is more than brick and mortar. “I always tell them that there shouldn’t be any doubt. It’s like finding your mate--if there’s doubt there, it is probably not meant to be. There’s the right home out there for everyone,” she said. ❖

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26 • Thursday, January 24, 2013


Ageless Style

Crestline Boutique Caters to Generations of Women By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

aurel Bassett, the owner of Town and Country Clothes in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village, said it is not unusual for her to have customers from three different generations in her store at once. That’s because as one of the oldest stores in Mountain Brook, Town and Country Clothes has a long list of loyal clients who pass their love for the boutique from generation to generation. Town and Country Clothes is celebrating its 70th year in business. Laurel kicked off the anniversary celebration on Jan. 17 with door prizes, food and wine. “For the next 70 days, we’ll have a new door prize drawing each day,” she said. “Plus, all of our fall and winter clothes are 70 percent off.” As a Mountain Brook native, Laurel said Town and Country Clothes has always been the go-to place for fashionable women of all ages for as long as she can remember. “I’ll have a grandmother, mother and granddaughter in the shop at the same time. We have something for every age, and I think that’s part of what has kept the business going for so long,” she said. Laurel said Margaret Bowron first opened what was called Margaret Bowron’s Town and Country Clothes in a little house near the store’s present location in 1943. “I think the store was here before there was a Crestline Village,” she said. “I had an older gentleman come in the store recently and tell me he used to ride his horse down here to play poker with the original owner’s husband.” In 1976, the store was bought by Jane Gray and Jane Lamar, Laurel said, and then changed hands again in 1990 when it was bought by Lee Cooper and Susan Pearce. Laurel started working at Town and Country Clothes when she was still in high school. “I went to Mountain Brook High School, and they had the career/co-op program where you could leave school for part of the day and go work someplace, and I was really excited about getting a job here,” she said. Those early days working at the store gave Laurel the chance to learn the retail business from the ground up,

she said. “I started out unpacking boxes and just tried to learn all I could,” she said. “I got to go to the market with the previous owner and learn the business gradually.” After studying art education and painting at Birmingham-Southern College, Laurel became partners with Lee Cooper at the store in 2007. A couple of years later, Lee decided to retire, Laurel said, and she became the full owner. “I knew I would like to own my own store, but when I started working here back in high school, I never dreamed this place would be mine,” she said. Laurel said her favorite part of the job--besides Laurel Bassett owns getting to pick out pretty Town and Country Clothes in Mountain clothes for the store--is getBrook, which is ting to know her customers. celebrating its 70th “I love that we’re a year in business. small store and you get to Journal photo by Keysha Drexel know our customers and their families really well,” she said. “It makes coming to work every day fun.” In addition to filling the shop with beautiful clothes for women of all ages, Laurel also makes custom jewelry to sell there. “I have always played around with beads and made jewelry, and so after I graduated from college, I started making jewelry to sell at the store and at the Birmingham Museum of Art,” she said. Laurel said she is proud to carry on a tradition that has been a part of the Mountain Brook shopping experience for more than half a century. “It does mean a lot to be able to carry on that tradition and know that so many of our customers count on us being here,” she said. While clothes and trends will continue to evolve, Laurel said she hopes she’s doing just what she does now in the future. “I want to continue to be a part of the community, to bring in new customers and to give our current and longtime customers the kind of shopping experience they have come to expect at Town and Country,” she said. Town and Country Clothes, at 74 Church Street in Crestline Village, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit or call 871-7909. ❖

Label Maker Skybucket Records Founder Looks Forward To 10-Year Celebration By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

n February, Travis Morgan will celebrate 10 years in the music business. The 32-year-old co-founded Skybucket Records in Homewood in Travis Morgan founded Skybucket 2003 and since has given several bands new fans in the Over the Mountain and Records 10 years ago in Birmingham areas. Homewood. Photo special to The Journal by Miller Mobley

Travis said as the owner of an independent record label, he often has to clear up misconceptions about what, exactly, that means. “A lot of old school labels back in the day would record music and then press it right there and get the albums out on the airwaves as soon as possible,” he said. “I don’t record bands. What I do is more like publishing books, but instead of publishing books, we put out records.” Travis, a Mountain Brook native, and a friend, Justin Lee, launched Skybucket Records a decade ago after a deal for a compilation album featuring Birmingham area bands fell through at the last minute.

See Skybucket, page 27

Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce Director Karen Odle, left, presents the Retail Business of the Year Award to Derek Cavin and Cobby Ware of Dairy Queen. Photos special to The Journal

Vestavia Chamber Presents Annual Awards

The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce kicked off the new year by recognizing the leaders who have helped the organization reach the highest number of members in its 31-year history. At the chamber’s annual meeting on Jan. 15, outgoing Board Chair Martha Cook of McCallum, Hoaglund, Cook & Irby LLP announced that the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce has a record 1,030 members. The luncheon included the presentation of several awards to businesses and individuals for their achievements. Dairy Queen was named the Retail Business of the Year, while the Service Business of the Year award went to John Henley of the John Henley State Farm Insurance Agency. Angie McEwen of Johnston Barton Proctor & Rose LLP was named the Board Member of the Year. The Member of the Year Award went to Lee Higginbotham of Advanced Mower West. Joe Perez of Wild Birds Unlimited won the President’s Award, while Scott Perry of Contri Bros. Gift Baskets was the recipient of the Chair’s Choice Award. Kim Mangham-Barelare of

Karen Odle, left, presents the Service Business of the Year Award to John Henley of State Farm Insurance.

SouthStar Properties LLC was named Volunteer of the Year at the luncheon. Ambassador of the Year was Shanna Black of Town Village Vestavia Hills. The luncheon event also included the installation of the chamber’s 2013 board officers and directors. The board officers are Scott Perry of Contri Bros. Gift Basket, Inc., chair; Linda Parker of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, chair elect; Derrell Crimm with AC Financial Partners, vice chair of business development; Kendall Williams of America’s First Federal Credit Union, vice chair of membership development; Angie McEwen of Johnston Barton Proctor & Rose LLP, vice chair of community affairs; Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace, vice chair of programming; Gina Henley of State Farm InsuranceJohn Henley Agency, vice chair of public education; Ben Chambliss of Jackson, Howard & Whatley, CPAs, treasurer; Mark Macoy of Mark W. Macoy LLC, secretary/legal counsel; Martha Cook of McCallum, Hoaglund, Cook & Irby LLP, immediate past chair; and Paul Sumner of Principal Mortgage LLC, past chair. The new directors are Audra Bean of EGS Commercial Real Estate; Robert “Bob” Elliott of The Elliott Firm; Ann Hamiter of Pinnacle Bank; Jessica Henderson of Hilton Garden Inn, Liberty Park; Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum; Brian Pitts, ITAC Solutions; and James Robinson of Alabama Gas Corp. Each person will serve a one-year term. “I look forward to working with this all-star board in 2013. An exciting year is planned for our chamber,” Scott Perry said. “With over 1,000 member representatives and growing, the chamber looks forward to continuing to work with the city on a focused effort to revitalize Highway 31, making it more appealing to residents, visitors and businesses looking to locate in our great city.” ❖

The Hill Opens in Homewood A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in December to officially open The Hill Apartment Homes in Homewood. The Hill was constructed and is managed by Arlington Properties. The Hill includes one, two and three-bedroom apartments with open floor plans and a resident clubhouse. Last February, the Homewood City Council approved the 122-unit project for the SoHo business district. From left: Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer, Arlington Properties President Jim Dixon and Rep. Paul DeMarco. Journal photo by Tommy Wald

Skybucket, from page 26

“We were really into the music scene, discovering a lot of new bands, and a literary magazine that was trying to get off the ground talked to us about putting together a compilation album,� Travis said. “So we selected bands from Birmingham, Huntsville, Auburn, bands from all over the state, and we were ready to go, but the magazine people didn’t have their (stuff) together.� But that didn’t stop Travis and Justin’s desire to get the music they’d put together out to the public. They decided to form their own record label, taking its name from a ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. “We were just sitting around throwing out ideas for the label’s name, and Skybucket clicked. I just like the way that word sounds, too,� he said. The label’s first album included 15 songs and came in handmade packages the two crafted themselves. Travis said he was a student at Samford University studying broadcast journalism at that time. “I remember going to the Samford

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 27



computer lab and having 12 computers going at once burning the CDs,� he said. “We handmade about 800 sleeves and packages for the CDs, 100 at a time.� From there, Travis and Justin took the CDs to coffee shops like Lucy’s in downtown Birmingham near the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We also made display boxes for the places that agreed to let us put them in their stores. We charged $2 or $3 for the CDs and sold all of them,� Travis said. “But it isn’t and never has been about the number, it’s about the art.� With a focus on cultivating the wealth of homegrown talent, Travis said Skybucket Records went on to release albums for bands like 13ghosts, Delicate Cutters, Vulture Whale and the Dexateens. “We’ve built a family of bands that I work with, and most of them have been from the Birmingham area,� he said. “The biggest release we’ve probably ever had was the Dextateens’ third album.� Travis and Justin went their separate ways a couple of years after launching the record label, so Travis took the helm of the fledgling business

King’s House Kicks Off 40th Anniversary King’s House Antiques, once a longtime fixture in the heart of Mountain Brook Village, is celebrating 40 years of fabulous finds. Today it has evolved to more than 3,500-square-feet in the Pepper Place design district. Interior designers and clients from all over the southeast and beyond have trusted King’s House Antiques for years for their remarkable taste, quality offerings and keen eye for coming trends. In honor of their 40th anniversary, King’s House Antiques is a buzz with lots of activity. Special Anniversary SALE tags will be placed throughout the year on a variety of select pieces. They will also be continuing their successful lunch and learn series: “Terrific Tuesdays� (starting Tuesday, Feb. 19) with a mix of inspiring talent and creative artists. In addition to the shop, King’s

by himself and set out to make it grow. Travis said he has taken a do-ityourself approach to learning the business and said he thinks it has been successful because of his love of music. “I taught myself the business. When I started out, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I probably still don’t,� he said. “But it’s a labor of love.� Travis said some argue that there’s no need for a record label to help music listeners discover new music in the age of the iPod. “I disagree with that, not as an owner of a record label but as a music listener,� he said. “I still believe people need a filter, someone they can trust on how to discover great music.� Skybucket Records’ 10th anniversary will be celebrated over two nights, Feb.8-9, at the Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham. On Feb. 8, there will be performances by Belle Adair, Barton Carroll, Terry Ohms & Them and Through the Sparks. The lineup for Feb. 9 includes The Magic Math, Delicate Cutters, 13ghosts and Vulture Whale. For show times and ticket information, go to For more information on Skybucket Records, �

House Antiques will be showcasing by invitation only at major antiques fairs this year in both Nashville and Chicago.

New Chamber Officers Installed in Hoover

Continuing on the board for the 2012-2014 term are Gregg Maercker of First Commercial Bank, Ira Levine of Levine & Associates and Joel Smith of Hendrick Automotive.

Retail Association Taps New Officers, Directors

The Hoover Chamber of Commerce installed new officers and members There are a few new faces among of its board of directors at its Jan. the Alabama Retail Association’s 2013 17 luncheon, sponsored by First officers and board of directors. Commercial Bank. Hoover Mayor Gary Jacob Shevin, president of Ivey led the installation ceremony. Birmingham-based Standard Furniture Jason Cobb is the new chamber Co., and Todd Noden, chief financial president for 2013. He has been officer for Birmingham’s Books-A-Million, a branch manager with the former were elected to the board, as was Superior Bank and is now with Cadence Lindsey Napier, a government relations Bank in its special assets division. manager for Publix Supermarkets Inc. Kathleen Spencer, the 2012 Ricky Bromberg of Bromberg and president, will continue to serve on the Co. of Birmingham has been added to board of directors for 2013 and will the board’s executive committee. become a member of the President’s Dianne Wammack, president of Circle on the board of trustees. Cameras Brookwood in Vestavia Hills, Debbie Rockwell of Iberia Bank continues as ARA chairman for another Mortgage continues as secretary to the year. board of directors. Dennis Cameron of Other board members include the CPA firm of Cooke, Cameron, Travis Kealon Drake of Moe’s Southwest Grill & Co. continues as treasurer. in Auburn, Birmingham, Homewood, Remaining on the board for the 2013 Hoover, Opelika and Vestavia Hills; term are Phil Holmes of St. Vincent’s Howard Johnson of Sneaky Pete’s One Nineteen, Chris Schmidt of Daniel Hot Dogs in Bessemer; Vince McAleer Corp. and Sylvia Wright of Personnel of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Hoover; Staffing. Irvine Porter of CVS in Bessemer; Elected to the board for the 2013Leo Shaia of Shaia’s of Homewood 2015 term were Patty Barron of the in Homewood; and Jack A. Taylor of Birmingham Water Works Board, Birmingham-Southern College. � Leanne Graham of Sam’s Club and Jerome Morgan Jr. of Oncort Email business briefs to OTMJ editor Keysha Drexel: Professional%HDNHU%DVK$GBIRU2YHU7KH0RXQWDLQSGI30 Services.

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28 • Thursday, January 24, 2013

ACT Aces of OTM


Students Get Perfect Scores on College Entrance Exam By Keysha Drexel


Journal Editor

everal Over the Mountain students have aced their college admissions exams with perfect scores. Mountain Brook High School has three students who earned a 36 on the ACT, as does Vestavia Hills High School. Homewood High and Hoover High each have one student who made a perfect composite score on the test. The ACT is a college admissions test that is given six times a year and is accepted by virtually every college in the country. The test consists of 215 multiple-choice questions and takes about three and a half hours to complete. The exam has four parts: English, reading, science and math. The highest a student can make on each section is 36, and the scores from each part of the test are averaged to get the composite score. The average score is a 21. Students scoring 34 or above on the ACT are among the top 1 percent in the country. For all of the students except one, scoring a 36 on the ACT took more than one attempt. Irene Zhang, a senior at Mountain Brook High School, earned a perfect score the first time she took the ACT. But like the other students, Irene said the achievement took lots of studying and preparation. “I bought one of the practice test books from ACT and spent the summer studying and taking those practice tests,” she said. Sarah Grace Tucker, a senior at Mountain Brook, wasn’t happy with the 34 she scored when she took the ACT during her junior year. “I felt like I was so close to a 36 that I wanted to take it again,” she said. “My dad told me I did a really good job but that he knew I could score a 36, so he encouraged me to try again.” Irene and Sarah Grace’s classmate, Miller Sisson, also said he thought he could do better than the 32 he scored his first time taking the ACT. “I thought I had a pretty good shot of improving my score and maybe even getting a 36, so I took a one-week intensive ACT prep course over the

Three students at Vestavia Hills High School have perfect composite scores on the ACT. From left: Joseph Stahl, Botang Ma and Enrico Camat. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Rebecca Riley, Homewood High

Sushmitha Yarrabothula, Hoover High

Mountain Brook High School had three students earn a score of 36 on the ACT. From left: Irene Zhang, Miller Sisson and Sarah Grace Tucker. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

summer. I came home from that course and went section by section through the test until I felt comfortable with it,” Miller said. Joseph Stahl, a senior at Vestavia Hills High School, also spent part of

his summer taking a test-preparation course. “The first time I took it, I took it cold and got a 33. I knew I wanted to try for scholarships and try to go to Vanderbilt and I knew I wanted a


higher score, so I decided to study a lot over the summer and try to improve,” Joseph said. Joseph’s classmates at Vestavia Hills High, Enrico Camata and Botang Ma, said while they didn’t take testpreparation classes, they did do a lot of self-guided study to prepare for the ACT. Botang said she studied the ACT prep tests the school gave students and tried to do a lot of writing for the part of the test she found the most challenging--the essay portion. “The essay was the toughest part for me, so I just tried to do a lot of writing and reading to prepare,” she said. Enrico said he didn’t like the computer prep test the school gave students, so he got practice tests from ACT and set his sights on getting a score that would help him achieve his dream of going to an Ivy League school. Homewood High School’s Rebecca Riley also drilled herself with practice tests to prepare for her second ACT test. “For me, it was all about self-study. That’s why my score went from a 34 the first time I took it to a 36 the second time. I bought the official ACT prep book and spent a lot of time studying each section,” Rebecca said. Rebecca said making a perfect score was her goal on her second try. “I’m kind of a perfectionist, and I always aim for the top,” she said. “My parents were happy with my 34 score, but I knew that I could do better if I prepared more.” Preparing more for her second attempt was all part of the strategy that led Hoover High School senior Sushmitha Yarrabothula to score a perfect 36 on the ACT. With minimal preparation, Sushmitha took the ACT for the first time as a junior and scored a 34. For her second attempt, she went all out and took Hoover High’s schoolprovided ACT assistance program. Despite being better prepared, Sushmitha said she was more nervous about taking the test for the second time. “It seemed harder for some reason. I was thinking to myself, ‘I hope my score doesn’t go down,’” she said. Sushmitha said she advises students to take an ACT prep course and to not stress out about the test too much. ❖

‘My parents were happy with my 34 score, but I knew that I could do better if I prepared more.’ Rebecca Riley, Homewood High

College Plans Mountain Brook High

Irene Zhang’s top choice for college is Yale University, where she wants to study physics and get a doctorate degree. Sarah Grace Tucker is considering Princeton University, Georgia Tech and Duke University and wants to study chemical engineering. Miller Sisson is looking at attending college at either Vanderbilt or Auburn, where he plans to major in engineering and then go on to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Vestavia Hills High

Joseph Stahl wants to study computer science at Vanderbilt University and then go on to medical school. Botang Ma has already been accepted at MIT and plans to major in biophysics with a minor in economics. She would like to be a vascular surgeon. Enrico Camata has his sights set on attending an Ivy League university and would like to study economics.

Homewood High

Rebecca Riley is considering Duke University and seven other schools and would like to study engineering. She hopes to work in aerospace engineering.

Hoover High

Sushmitha Yarrabothula’s top choices for college are Duke University and Vanderbilt. She wants to study biomechanical engineering, go to medical school and someday, work with United Nations.

School Notes Williams Named Teacher of the Year at Pizitz Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia Hills has chosen Coach Jason Williams to represent the school for the Alabama Teacher of the Year Award. Jason Williams Williams was recently named the Pizitz Middle School Teacher of the Year. He is an eighth-grade social studies

teacher and is also head coach for the cross country and track teams. He has been honored as the Birmingham Metro South Track and Field/Cross Country Coach of the Year 11 times. Williams serves as a Pirates’ Day coordinator and was a past budget committee chairman. He received his master’s degree in education from the University of Alabama.

Brock’s Gap Honors Vets More than 70 veterans attended the second annual Veterans Day Program at Brock’s Gap Intermediate School in Hoover. Lt. Col. James Carlisle was the

special guest speaker for the event. Students invited family members who have served in the military to the program. Those guests were featured during a slideshow presentation. Steve Williams’ class presented a moving tribute to America’s White Table. In conjunction with the Veterans Day program, Brock’s Gap Intermediate students adopted a troop serving in Afghanistan. The students donated toiletries for care packages to send to the soldiers.

Top Spellers Take Titles at Shades Cahaba Students at Shades Cahaba Elementary School in Homewood

Avery Stansell, left, was the runner-up in the Shades Cahaba Elementary Spelling Bee. Ayona Roychowdhury was the winner. Photo special to The Journal showcased their spelling skills by competing against each other in the school’s annual spelling bee. It took 24 rounds to declare a winner

in the competition. Fourth-grader Ayona Roychowdhury correctly spelled “reactionary” to win. Avery Stansell was runner-up.

From left: Madalyn Green, Kathryn Barr and Zosia Kabarowska.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 29



He provided medical care as a General Medical Officer with the 2nd Marine Division and retired as a Navy Commander after 13 years of service. Riley Brown honored her grandfather, Richard Rohan, for serving in the United States Marine Corp. He was in the Vietnam War where he maintained air to air radar middle systems on the F4B phantom jets.

Photo special to The Journal

Highlands Barr Named Administrator of the Year Kathryn Woodson Barr, head of Highlands School, has been selected by the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers as the recipient of the 2013 Administrator of the Year Award. Barr credited Evalina Spencer, founder of the school, for the emphasis she placed on children studying a foreign language. During Barr’s tenure, Highlands has added Mandarin Chinese to its foreign language program, which already included French and Spanish. In 2011, Highlands received the Confucius Classroom Award for its Chinese language program. The award presented by Troy University included a grant to continue the study of the

Cherokee Bend student Garrett Long, right, with his father, Gary Long, ,a U.S. Navy veteran. Photo special to The Journal Chinese language and culture.

Veterans Honored at Cherokee Bend Program

Fourth-grade students at Cherokee Bend Elementary School in Mountain Brook presented a Veterans Day program Nov. 8. Several fathers and grandfathers of Cherokee Bend students attended the event and were honored for their service during the program. Garrett Long’s father, Gary Long, a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy was among those attending.

Riverchase Elementary School students went canoeing during a trip to the Environmental Learning Center at Camp McDowell. Photo special to The Journal

Science Comes to Life on Trip to Camp McDowell Former Olympian Jenny Finch brought her medals along on a visit to Liberty Park Middle. Photo special to The Journal

Former Olympian Speaks at Vestavia Hills School Former Olympian Jenny Finch spoke at Liberty Park Middle School recently. She discussed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people and said true friends will help you reach your dreams.  Finch reminded the students that they are role models and that younger students are watching them. She also explained how one wrong choice can change everything in life. She added that everyone will fail sometimes, but it’s how you respond that is important. Finch, who was born in California, started playing softball at age 5 and pitching at age 8. She played softball at the University of Arizona and pitched for the Chicago Bandits, part of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league. She helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Finch said wearing USA on her chest was one of her proudest moments.

JCCHS Students Provide Christmas Gifts Christmas was provided for some Birmingham area families in need thanks to students at John Carroll Catholic High School. The students

Riverchase Elementary School fifth-graders embarked on an outdoor classroom experience Oct. 15-17 at the Environmental Learning Center at Camp McDowell. The goal of the trip was to go beyond the basic curriculum to bring classroom learning alive through real life experiences while having fun, too. recently raised funds through the annual Christmas in Autumn Drive. In early November, John Carroll students began to collect money each day in their theology classes in a twoweek competition to see which class could raise the most money for this cause. The total raised was $7,715, which was matched dollar for dollar by the school’s Carroll Students Modeling Christ organization, bringing the final total to $15,450. Following a school Mass on Nov. 29, a check was presented to Sr. Cecilia Zamboni and the Catholic Center of Concern to provide Christmas gifts to Birmingham area families in need. Sr. Cecilia thanked the student body for their generosity.  CSMC student officers, John Carroll Principal Father John McDonald, Father Bob Sullivan, Sr. Immaculata Francis and Ree Latham, John Carroll campus minister, presented the check to Sr. Cecilia, who will distribute the funds to those in need.

OLS Marks Veterans Day with Special Mass Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School honored U.S. veterans in a special Veterans Day Mass. Guest priest

Crestline Students take a trip to the farm

The kindergarten classes from Crestline Elementary School visited Old Baker Farm in Shelby County. The children participated in a hayride and heard a story about a tree farm. They ate lunch in a 100-year-old barn and learned about farm life. At the end of the trip, each class was allowed to select a tree to be cut down and transported back to the school to donate to families. Photo special to The Journal

Students explored life in a pond, learning about animal adaptations, food chains and ecosystems. In an effort to better understand the rock cycle, students took long hikes through the forest to see examples in a natural habitat. They went canoeing and learned survival skills from their favorite naturalist, “Big Dave.” Students participated in a Night Hike. They learned about night vision and got to appreciate nature from a new perspective.

Chorbishop Richard Saad from Saint Elias Maronite Church celebrated the school-wide Mass with the children. Before Mass began, the students paid tribute to those who have served their country. A unique “Remembrance Table” represented the sacrifice American soldiers and their families have made for their country. OLS Boy Scout Troop 237 participated in the Mass by wearing their uniforms to school and leading a procession into the church. The Veterans Day Liturgy is an annual school celebration.

Hrithik Praveen, left, was the winner of the spelling bee at Homewood Middle School. Hunter Callaway, right, was the runner-up. Photo special to The Journal

Seventh-grader Wins Homewood Middle Bee A seventh-grader won the annual spelling bee at Homewood Middle School this year. Hrithik Praveen won by correctly spelling “baccalaureate” and

“delicatessen” in the school’s competition. Last year’s district winner, Hunter Callaway, a seventh-grader, was the runner-up this year. Sixth-graders Keefer Boone and Hannah Crosswy tied for third place.

Authors Visits Green Valley Elementary School Author Jennifer Ward visited Green Valley Elementary School Nov. 2. Ward spoke to students in kindergarten through fifth grade about the importance of reading and writing. She also read her books to students and helped them put on a readers’ theater using one of her books. Six lucky students got to have lunch with Ward during her visit. Author and illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt visited Green Valley Elementary and spoke with students in kindergarten, first and second grades about the writing process and illustrating stories. ❖

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30 • Thursday, January 24, 2013



MBJH Lacrosse Players Attend Blue Chip Camp

From left, Jamare Gillard and Calen Campbell with the Bucs Tour of Champions Trophy and 6A state championship trophy at a ceremony at the high school on Jan. 10. Journal photo by William C. Singleton III

Hoover High Football Team Gets National Recognition By William C. Singleton III

the Tour of Champions trophy. The team’s ranking as the eighth best team in the nation was based on a number of factors including wins, The Hoover High School footquality of ball team added another award to its wins and strength of schedule, impressive resume. said Marina Conte, spokeswoman for The team, which went 15-0 and the MaxPreps Tour of Champions. won the 6A state championship “Hoover has an amazing football in December, finished the 2012 program,” she said. “It’s their third season as the eighth ranked team time winning it. So it says that they in the nation out of about 16,000 know what they’re doing with their high school teams, according to the football team. They have a quality MaxPreps national ranking organizaprogram here. They’re teaching their tion. kids how to be champions on the MaxPreps officials and represenfield.” tatives from the Alabama National School officials also heaped praisGuard visited Hoover High Jan. 10 to es on the football team. present the Tour of Champions tro“Guys, I can’t thank you enough phy to the school’s football team. Steve Savarese, executive director for what you’ve done on the field and off the field,” said Myra Miles, of the Alabama High School Athletic Hoover High’s Association, also athletic director. attended the cer‘We went through “We’re so proud of emony held in the here at Hoover high school gym to so many struggles, you High School.” recognize the footthrough so many Niblett said he ball team’s nationwas blessed to be al ranking and its downfalls and to come a part of the 2012 state championship back together as a championship victory. He was joined by Hoover team and be in the team. “This group Mayor Gary Ivey, playoffs and be unde- pretty much laid School out in front and Superintendent feated and be in the itsaid they wanted to Andy Craig and top 10 in the nation is win a state chammembers of the pionship,” Niblett City Council and just a blessing.’ said. “Not that any school board. of the other teams The Hoover Landry Tulla, didn’t, because Buccaneers Hoover senior all of them did. defeated Opelika linebacker But this senior 31-0 at Auburn class didn’t want University’s to leave here without a ring. And Jordan-Hare Stadium. that was something every day that Hoover has won seven state footthey continuously talked about and ball championships, two under Head worked toward.” Coach Josh Niblett. The Buccaneers Landry Tulla, 17, a senior who have appeared in the state championplayed outside linebacker, said the ship 12 consecutive years, a state team had as its goal on the first day record, Savarese said. of the season to win a state champi“What really inspired so many onship after having failed the previpeople that night is watching your ous two seasons. passion, watching how hard you “We all came together as a team played the game, watching your this year,” he said. “We went through desire to participate and to accomso many struggles, through so many plish your goal,” he said. downfalls and to come back together The Hoover football team as a team and be in the playoffs and received its state 6A championship be undefeated and be in the top 10 in trophy at the event, and it was the the nation is just a blessing.” second time the team was awarded Journal contributor

Mountain Brook Junior High School ninth-graders Mac Campbell and Patrick Doud were selected to attend and compete in the prestigious 3d Blue Chip Lacrosse Camp in Davenport, Fla., Jan. 18-20. The camp is nationally regarded as the premier and most sought after recruiting camp in the country for high school lacrosse players. The camp’s goal is to find the best high school players in the country for top college lacrosse programs to evaluate. Midfielder Campbell plays for the Mountain Brook varsity lacrosse team and defenseman Doud plays for the Mountain Brook junior varsity lacrosse team. Both were named Brine National Middle School AllAmericans in 2012, were members of the 2012 State Champion Mountain Brook U15 Gold team and play for the BamaLax Lacrosse Club Elite Travel Team. The 3d Blue Chip Lacrosse Camp Series scouts out and invites the top 120 players in grades 8, 9 and 10 from five regions of the country: New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest and West. Campbell and Doud competed with players from across the South in a game-based camp format for a chance to be invited to the Nike Blue Chip Lacrosse Camp. From the five regional camps, the best 120 players at each grade level will be invited to the Nike camp to showcase their skills in front of nearly every NCAA Division I coach in the country.

From left: Patrick Doud and Mac Campbell

Campbell is the son of Lela and Brian Campbell. Doud’s parents are Leigh and Brian Doud.

Homewood Soccer Player Chosen for College Showcase

Simmons Completes Strong Season

The 2012 Simmons Middle School eighth grade team ended its season with an overall record of 39-5 and a Metro South record of 10-1. The team won first place at the Huntsville Panther Smash, first place at the Huntsville Bash, first place at the Madison Academy Tournament and second place at the Oak Mtn. Screaming Eagles Tournament and Metro South tournament. All Metro Players for the tournament were Olivia Portera and Nora Webster. All Metro South players were Annie Medders and Olivia Portera. The team was coached by Jo Ann Hollis and George Murphy.

Griffis Breaks Records at Sports Training Event

A Homewood High School freshman broke two national records at D1 Sports Training Facility’s recent testing event. Carson Griffis broke the records at the Homewood D1 facility’s National D1 Testing Day. Seventeen other D1 locations across the country hosted testing days. Griffis posted an 8’7” jump in the broad jump category and had a time of 4.22 seconds in the ProAgility competition. He also placed second nationally in the 20-yard dash with a time of 2.70 seconds and the medicine ball event with a throw of 45’31”. Griffis competed in the event’s Developmental Group for ages 12-14. D1 offers speed, agility and strength training for athletes of all ages.

Youth Sports Registration Underway at Vestavia YMCA Registration is underway for youth soccer and flag football at the Vestavia Hills YMCA. The programs are open to players from 3 years old to the third grade. The soccer program teaches the

game to first-time players and helps develop returning players. Registration ends on Feb. 9 and soccer practice starts Feb. 19 with the first games slated to begin March 9. Fag football regisration ends on Feb. 9 and games will begin on March 9. For more information or to register, visit

Homewood High School soccer player Laith Dahhan was selected to represent Alabama at the College Showcase in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Olympic Development Program. The ODP’s mission is to identify elite level players and facilitate their selection to the U. S. National Team programs. It allows top players to further their development as soccer players. After playing against nationally ranked opponents, Dahhan said he was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the College Showcase. “I was truly unable to grasp the fact that, after a short six hour drive, I would be playing at the highest level of soccer in my life,” he said. “I wish more than anything to continue down this path to become a professional soccer player. “Without the support of my family, and the most crucial and unique training offered by coaches Sean McBride, Greg Bassett and Robert Domingez, I wouldn’t be near this level.” Dahhan said he considers the Homewood Soccer Club a top level soccer training club and that the dedication of his coaches has been a big influence in his life. Dahhan said he believes the OPD competition will inspire him to succeed in all areas of his future. He said he is looking forward to another College Showcase in Decatur in March.

done in the second half,” DeFore said. “We started playing as individuals and not so much as a team.” Michael Wiesneth scored eight points for the losing cause. The good news for Burkett and his team is that they’ll get another shot at the Dragons. The rematch is set for Feb. 1 on Wenonah’s court. Point guard Justin Coleman led By Lee Davis “I can’t wait for that one,” said the Wenonah rally with 22 points. He Journal Sports Writer DeFore. scored 14 in the fourth quarter. Neither can basketball fans all over No Hoover player tried to use the There was a standing-room-only the area. team’s recent long trip to Alaska as an crowd at Hoover last week to watch the Hoover rebounded nicely from alibi. undefeated and highly-ranked Bucs take “I don’t think we lost our legs in the the disappointment of the Wenonah on a powerful foe in a game that fans loss with an second half,” had been talking about for weeks. easy win over said Hoover’s It would be a cliché to say the Hueytown. Brannon remarkable thing was that all the fuss Deontaye DeFore, who was about a basketball game, not a footCurtis led the ball game. In fact, under Coach Charles finished with Bucs with 13 14 points. Burkett, boys’ basketball is now a toppoints and “Wenonah just tier sport at Hoover, as evidenced by the eight rebounds. played better Bucs’ Class 6A Final Four appearance Quamauri than we did last season. Hardy and in the second What made the game remarkable DeFore each was something more mundane: the high half.” chipped in 10. Hoover quality of the teams. Mountain delighted its Hoover entered the night 21-0, Brook clinched fans by taking fresh off an impressive victory in a its 20th win an early 8-0 tournament played more than 4,000 of the season lead. The advanmiles away – in Alaska. The Bucs were with a 70-54 tage spread ranked No. 2 in the Class 6A polls. rout of Shades to 16-7 and On the other side of the court were the Valley. Malek peaked at 36-25 Wenonah Dragons, ranked No. 1 in Grant scored 16 by halftime. Class 5A, with a 21-1 record. points for the DeFore and his Two teams playing in mid-January Spartans as they Mountain Brook’s Mary Katherine Pinson teammates had with a combined record of 42-1 – now, scored 14 points in the Lady Spartans loss ran their record surged by effecthat’s remarkable. Shades Valley. More photos at to 20-3. Patrick tively breaking to The game lived up to its hype, but Journal photo by Lee Walls Jr. Keim scored 10 the Dragons’ the night ended with the home crowd points, and Stuart Harmon added nine. press to get solid shooting opportunities. disappointed. The Dragons rallied from Homewood picked up its 19th win Unfortunately for the Bucs, an 11-point halftime deficit to take a Wenonah was able to make adjustments of the year with a 55-47 victory over 58-49 victory. Briarwood. Malik Cook paced the during intermission. Patriots with 22 points, and Michael The Dragons Lummis followed with 15. Justin gained the initiative Brown scored 11 for Briarwood. early in the third Spain Park whipped Chelsea 67-41 period, going on a 10-0 run. Trailing only as Drew Morgan scored 15 points for 44-41 at the beginning the Jaguars. Deion Wright contributed 10 points. of the fourth quarter, Deshaun Giles scored 15 points Wenonah also scored and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Oak the first 10 points of Mountain to a 48-43 win over Pelham. the period to take a Chris Lamb banked 12 points for 51-44 lead with less Eagles. than five minutes to Shades Mountain Christian overplay. whelmed Southeastern 73-43. Mitchell Hoover – forced Anderson and Mikey Rogers each into difficult shots scored 14 points. – was cold from the Woodlawn edged Vestavia Hills floor for much of the 38-35. Mitchell Baldwin scored 12 for second half, scoring the Rebels. only 13 points. Hoover’s Michael Wiesneth drives past a Wenonah In a key girls’ Class 6A Area defender. More photos at Journal photo by Marvin Gentry “We didn’t get it Weekend Wrap-up

Hoover Finally Falls Before Packed House


from back coverr

School in the 1970s and 1980s. But the success of Berry football often overshadowed basketball even in those days. The flesh-and-blood link to Buccaneer basketball’s past and present is Brannon DeFore. DeFore’s dad starred for Harbin a quarter-century ago, and his grandfather earned AllSEC honors at Auburn University in 1966. The youngest DeFore leads Hoover in scoring and rebounding and represents the team-first mentality that Burkett has brought to the program. Hoover basketball is beginning to resemble Hoover football in another important way: The program is

Thursday, January 24, 2013 • 31



expanding its schedule and its profile to other states. Former Buc football coach Rush Propst started the tradition of annually adding a regional power to an already difficult slate. The most notable game may have come a decade ago when Hoover hosted Nease High School from Florida, which featured a quarterback named Tim Tebow. Burkett’s basketballers are not only stepping out of state but out of the region. The Bucs spent the second week of January at the Alaska Airlines Tournament, where they easily won the title. Hoover football has accomplished many things, but it’s a good bet the gridiron Bucs will never play a game in our 49th state. Actually, nobody should be surprised that Hoover boys’ basketball is

taking off. The school has tremendous facilities, dedicated coaches and of course, great athletes. The Buccaneer program has enjoyed incredible success through the years in girls’ basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, you name it. So why shouldn’t boys’ basketball be elite as well? After the disappointing loss to Wenonah, Hoover showed its character by bouncing back with easy wins over the weekend. The Bucs crushed Area 14 rival Hueytown 74-55 and Chipley of Florida 88-66 to run their record to 23-1. The good news for Hoover is that the Bucs will get another shot at Wenonah on Feb. 1. The better news is that the boys’ basketball program looks as if it’s here to stay as a statewide power.

11 battle, Shades Valley upended Mountain Brook 68-55. Ellie Mouyal scored 19 points for the Lady Spartans. Mary Katherine Pinson contributed 14. Mountain Brook fell to 15-5 overall and 2-1 in area play. Abby Parks connected on a lay-up late in the game to spark Briarwood’s 42-41 win over Homewood. Hannah Wainwright led the Lady Lions with 17 points and eight rebounds. Samantha Swords had five points and 10 boards. Kiara Williams was the Lady Patriots’ top scorer with 16. Alex Studdard contributed 12. Hoover bounced Hueytown 82-22.

Sarah Mitchell led a balanced scoring attack with 13 points. Courtney Hunter and Shannah Watkins each added 12. Breigha Coleman scored 11. The Lady Bucs ran their record to 15-4. Oak Mountain outscored Pelham 46-34. Madison Pierce scored 14 while Maiyah Lee chipped in 11 for the Lady Eagles. Spain Park whipped Chelsea 60-40. Victoria Baldwin led the Lady Jags with 18 points and six rebounds. Takia Mickens added 13. John Carroll Catholic lost to Ramsey 42-37. Paige Pruet led the Lady Cavs with 11 points.

Members of the All OTM Football from Hoover High are, from left, front: Conner short Calen Campbell, Eddie Foster, Michael Powers , Doss Harman. Back: Landry Tullo and Marlon Humphrey. Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Briarwood’s Jordan Carroll. As usual, this area offered some from back coverr of Alabama’s best linebackers. This year’s crop includes Hoover’s Landry Tullos, Spain Park’s Je’Niah Jackson, wins ballgames, then the 2012 AllOak Mountain’s John Michael Miller Over the Mountain team is in exceland Mountain Brook’s Buddy Pell. lent shape, as it is loaded with outThis season’s all-star secondary standing talent. is composed of Hoover’s Devon Earl The defensive front includes and Marlon Humphrey, Vestavia’s Hoover’s Doss Harman, Vestavia’s Marcus Ward, Spain Park’s Rondarius Jahaad Jackson and Kalvin Robinson, Johnson, Oak Mountain’s Jake Kelley Spain Park’s Jacob Chaffin, JoyLeague56Brook’s ad_Layout 1 11/16/12 9:03and AM Pageand 1 Mountain Brook’s Sam Centeno. Mountain Adam Harvey

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Thursday, January 24, 2013


Hoover falls to Wenonah, Lady Spartans lose to Shades Valley P.31

Mullens, Bell Lead 2012 All-OTM Team

Mountain Brook’s Sara Carr breaks up a pass in the Lady Spartans game with Shades Valley.

By Lee Davis


ost observers expected Spain Park quarterback Nick Mullens to have a good senior season in 2012. Perhaps nobody realized just how good it would turn out. Mullens became one of the most prolific passers in Alabama high school football history. While leading the Jaguars to 10 wins and their firstever region championship, Mullens passed for 3,649 yards and a whopping 40 touchdowns, while throwing only seven interceptions. He completed 64 percent of his passes. Mullens ended his career with 8,605 total passing yards to rank him near the top in state history. He managed to do all of that while maintaining an outstanding grade point average and being active in numerous extracurricular activities outside of football. With such impressive credentials, it’s no surprise that Mullens was chosen by an exclusive poll as the 2012 Over the Mountain Player of the Year. The head football coaches of the eight 6A and 5A Over the Mountain schools voted on the award. “This is special, no doubt about it,” said Mullens, who will play at UAB next season. “The fact that the coaches of the area schools picked me means a lot. “But it’s also an honor because there are so many great players in this part of the state. These are the guys I’ve been playing either with or against for years.” First-year Oak Mountain coach Cris Bell is the 2012 Over the Mountain Coach of the Year. The Eagles had endured a string of losing seasons when Bell was hired to take over the program early last year. In his rookie season, Bell led Oak Mountain to a 7-4 record and first round Class 6A playoff appearance. A season highlight was a 21-17 win over perennial state power Prattville. “This award is a great honor, but it’s really not about me,” said Bell. “It’s much more about the work of our players and assistant coaches. They worked and they believed in what we were doing, and it paid off.” Bell sounded much a like a certain well-known college coach when he talked about the “process” of turning around the Eagle program. “We didn’t worry about the big picture,” Bell said. “Everyone just focused on what was needed in order to get better every day. If we did that, the winning would take care of itself.” A positive attitude was another key to Oak Mountain’s success, according to Bell. “Some folks like to complain about what they don’t have,” he said. “They might say ‘we don’t have this’ or ‘we don’t have that,’ so we can’t be

Lee Davis

Orange Crushers

Hoover Boys’ Program Has Come Far Under Burkett

T Members of the 2012 All-Over the Mountain defensive football team include, from left, front: Buddy Pell, Mountain Brook; Sam Centeno, Mountain Brook; Jake Kelley, Oak Mountain; Rondarius Johnson, Spain Park; Je’Niah Jackson, Spain Park; John Michael Miller, Oak Mountain. Second row: Jordan Carroll, Briarwood; Adam Harvey, Mountain Brook; Marcus Ward, Vestavia Hills; Kalvin Robinson, Vestavia Hills; Jacob Chaffin, Spain Park; and Coach Cris Bell, Oak Mountain. Not pictured: Jahaad Jackson, Vestavia Hills.

Members of the 2012 All-Over the Mountain offensive football team include, from left, front: Jordan Johnson, Vestavia Hills; Walker Hays, Vestavia Hills; Stuart Jacobs, Vestavia Hills; Justin Hardy, Homewood; Wes Dismuke, John Carroll Catholic; Scott Hester, Oak Mountain. Second row: Daniel Robert, Briarwood; Bryant Novick, Spain Park; Jordan Sims, Homewood; Zach Sims, Homewood; Nick Mullens, Spain Park; Billy Dasher, Oak Mountain; and John Grady Welden, Mountain Brook. Not pictured: Trent Marshall, John Carroll Catholic. Journal photos by Maury Wald

successful. The better approach is to say ‘here is what we do have’ and go from there. We have the tools here to be successful.” The coaches also chose the 2012 All-Over the Mountain football team. Coach Josh Niblett’s undefeated Class 6A state champion Hoover Bucs led the unit with eight selections. Archrival Vestavia Hills followed closely behind with six players chosen. Mullens and Hoover’s Connor

Short share the quarterback spot. The running backs are Hoover’s Calen Campbell, Homewood’s Justin Hardy and Vestavia’s tandem of Jordan Johnson and Stuart Jacobs. The wide receivers are Briarwood’s Daniel Robert and Hoover’s Michael Powers. Of course, no offense is effective without a strong front line, and this year’s choices may be among the best ever. Selected for the team were Hoover’s Eddie Foster, Vestavia’s

Walker Hays, Spain Park’s Bryant Novick, Homewood’s Zach Sims and Jordan Sims, Oak Mountain’s Billy Dasher and Mountain Brook’s John Grady Welden. The Eagles’ Scott Hester was the choice for tight end. John Carroll Catholic’s Trent Marshall is the team’s placekicker, and the Cavs’ Wes Dismuke was chosen for overall athletic ability. If the adage is true that defense See otm team, page 30

he Hoover boys’ basketball team’s 58-49 loss to Class 5A superpower Wenonah last week was surely disappointing to Buc players, coaches and fans. But in many ways, the loss showed how far Hoover’s program has come since Charles Burkett took the reins in 2006. The Bucs entered the game with a 21-0 record, almost certainly the greatest start in school history. They had attained a No. 2 ranking in Class 6A and established themselves as one of Alabama’s elite programs. A packed crowd in an electric atmosphere at Hoover’s competition gym cheered almost every dribble of the battle, as the Dragons rode a strong second half effort to an epic 58-49 victory. Regardless of the score, Hoover was the big winner. This season’s strong beginning, coupled with last season’s run to the Class 6A finals, should forever end the perception that Buccaneer basketball is second fiddle to Hoover football. In fact, it seems that the two programs are feeding off one another’s success. In December, the football Bucs completed a 15-0 record on the way to their first state 6A title since 2005. Now the basketball Bucs looked headed to a second consecutive Final Four. How’s that for good karma? The boys’ program has also stepped out from the shadow of the success of the Hoover girls’ program, which has been a perennial state power for decades. The Lady Bucs have been so dominant for so long that most metro Birmingham schools aren’t particularly competitive with them anymore. The boys’ program hasn’t risen to that level, but it has certainly closed the perceived gap with its girl counterparts. To be fair, Hoover’s boys’ basketball’s tradition is deeper than most realize. Larry Harbin regularly produced successful teams led by the likes of Jay Thursby, Murry Bartow and Matt DeFore at old Berry High

See Davis, page 31

January 24, 2013 Current Issue  

News, sports, schools, social events

January 24, 2013 Current Issue  

News, sports, schools, social events