Jan 23 full issue

Page 1

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


JOU RNAL otmj.com


ursd ay, Jan uar y 23, 2014

V ol. 23 #2


Mall Mystery: Levine draws on Eastwood memories to write first novel

people page 6

Mardi Gras Merriment: Beaux Arts Krewe Ball set for Feb. 28

social page 14

Zoe Foreman sits in her newly renovated bedroom in her Hoover home. The 8-year-old recently won a room makeover from Kids Wish Network. Journal photo by Lee Walls Jr.


of Change

Young Volunteers Work for Better Communities part II begins on page 10

Journal photo by Marsha Perry

The Room of Her Dreams After Diabetes Diagnosis, Zoe Forman Gets a Zippy New Space

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

Zenobia and Keith Forman of Hoover said tucking their daughter into bed every night has always been a blessing--but the family ritual has taken on new meaning since the 8-year-old received a diagnosis that changed her life. After suffering from chronic headaches, unexplained weight loss and extreme fatigue, Zoe was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and now requires daily insulin injections and constant monitoring of her blood sugar levels. When Zoe’s struggle with diabetes was brought

Weddings page 24

See ZOE, page 22

Festive Presentation

Sweet Success at Savage’s: Daughter joins dad at award-winning bakery

Poinsettia Debs Honored at Annual Ball

The Ballet Women’s Committee and Poinsettia Men’s Club hosted the 46th annual Poinsettia Debutante Ball on Dec. 28. At the event, 33 young women were presented on the arms of their fathers at the festive holiday event at Vestavia Country Club. The Ballet Women’s Committee was founded in 1960 to foster and promote fine arts in the greater Birmingham area. The Poinsettia Men’s Club was formed in 1969 to support, promote and cultivate goals and activities of the Ballet Women’s Committee. All proceeds of the Poinsettia Debutante

A Perfect Palette: Couple chooses museum for a creative wedding backdrop

Ball support the Alabama Ballet. Vestavia Country Club was decorated with Christmas greenery, gold ribbon, ornaments and red poinsettias provided by Carole Sullivan of Lagniappe Designs. Sullivan suspended festive red spheres in the ballroom over the seated debutantes using thin, red sheer ribbon. The debutantes, dressed in white ball gowns, carried bouquets of red poinsettias and juniper greenery. The evening began with the debutantes’ presentation at the Benefactor’s Dinner sponSee Poinsettia Ball, page 15

business page 26

Jeff Pierce with his daughter Michelle at the 46th annual Poinsettia Debutante Ball. Journal photo by Emil Wald

Sibling Success: Spain Park twins get perfect ACT scores

schools page 28

sue murphy gets political p. 2 • creature feature P. 3 • Hearts and harmony p. 4 • grand bohemian breaks ground p. 8 • all otm team p. 32

2 • Thursday, January 23, 2014



murphy’s law

Changing the Heart of Their Home


Four-month Renovation Creates Familyfriendly Kitchen home Page 20


Ex-Patriot Evan Mathis Earns First Team All-NFL honors Sports Page 32

On otmj.com Check out our website for updates on news happening in the Over the Mountain area and see more photos and stories from the best parties in town.

Coming Feb. 6

Matters of the heart, love, health and gifts in our Valentine’s Day issue. Plus, you’ll meet the 2014 Krewe Beaux Arts King in our next issue.

in this issue About Town 3 People 6 News 8 Life 12 Social 14

Home 20 Weddings 24 business 26 Schools 28 Sports 32



January 23, 2014

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 Staff Writer: Ginny Cooper Vol. 23, 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 editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at ads@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2014 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.



have accidentally messed up on occaighty-tighty, lefty loosey. sion (see elevator tendencies above), The rule makes no sense to but in general, just because everyone me. My husband Harold put is going one way does not make it me in charge of turning the water right…or left. And here we go again… valve on and off during a recent Left and right make a big difattempted spigot repair, and the ference when it comes to shoes or poor man finally had to put down gloves. My left contact is much stronhis pliers and do it himself. ger than my right one (perhaps adding I’m not what you’d call a home to my elevator issues), and when I maintenance whiz kid. If anything, I’m mistakenly put my left earphone in my home repair impaired. I’m also direcright ear…well, actually nothing haptionally challenged. Even if we stay pens there, but they must be labeled in the same hotel for 10 days, I still for a reason. exit the wrong way out of the elevator. We make a big deal about whether Besides, when you think about it, the you’re on the left or right side politirighty-tighty rule is flawed, because Sue Murphy cally, but to me, both sides have their when your thumb is going left, some points. The trick is to determine of your fingers are going right and We make a big deal which things you want to tighten up vice versa. which you want to let loose. Tightening or loosening, eventuabout whether you’re andGlobally, the sun rises in the ally your hand goes in all right/left on the left or right east and sets in the west, but both directions. It’s a circle, folks. beautiful colors in the Now, clockwise and counterside politically, but to produce transition. North and south? I’m not clockwise I get. At the gym, the track traffic is directed clockwise me, both sides have going to touch that one except to that if you go north or south far on Monday-Wednesday-Fridaytheir points. The trick say enough, you run into penguins or Sunday and counterclockwise Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, so is to determine which polar bears and both of those animals are great. before I start my walk I have to things you want to It’s a new year and I plan to stop and process (a) what day it is and (b) which way the clock tighten up and which go boldly in some new directions, in some and leftyruns. It’s a mini-workout for my you want to let loose. righty-tighty loosey in others, but first of all, I brain before my feet are even set in have to call someone to come fix motion. my backyard water spigot. It’s the one on the left side I’m sure you noticed that the counterclockwise of the house if you’re facing the street, on the right if group got shorted a day, but that didn’t surprise me. you’re looking toward the back fence. It’s east of the We “counter” types are used to such blatant discrimibirdfeeder and west of the rhododendron, south of the nation. This is the way we do things. This is the way bathroom window and north of …well, it’s not north things are done. I’m not sure who “we” are, but apparof much, but I think if the guy will just keep walkently they wield a lot of power. ing around the house, he’ll run across it. No matter if Sometimes, however, counter is the only way to he comes on Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday or go. Sometimes “we” are wrong, or sometimes “we” Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, he can walk clockwise or are just demonstrating an appalling lack of creativity. counterclockwise. I’m not going to say a word. It’s a Not that I feel compelled to do a Wednesday counter whole new year. ❖ against the clockwise masses on the track, although I

over the Mountain Views

What’s your dream home improvement project?

“A brand new master bathroom because living in a 95-year-old house has its challenges.” Paige Gilliland Redmont Park

“I actually did my dream project. I turned an extra bedroom into a closet.” Susan Norton Vestavia Hills

“Getting a home--I currently live in an apartment. Also, I’d like to get some new furniture.” David Britt Inverness

“I want to remodel our basement to make it more teenfriendly for our two girls.” Eve Nash Vestavia Hills

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 3

About Town


Creature Feature

Homewood Festival Focuses on Salamanders By Ginny Cooper

Journal staff writer


n annual festival in Homewood is making the humble salamander the star of the show. The Friends of Shades Creek will host the 10th annual Salamander Festival at the Homewood Senior Center from 3-5:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 to celebrate the little critter’s unique characteristics. Michelle Blackwood, president of Friends of Shades Creek, said the nonprofit organization recognized the ecological importance of the spotted salamanders and has fought to protect their natural habitat in Homewood. Four years ago, the group obtained a conservation easement on the land near Homewood High School. The land is now called Homewood Forest Preserve. The easement means the spotted salamanders are safe from the threat of construction or other development that might destroy their habitat. Blackwood said seeing a mass migration of animals is something that is increasingly rare today. “In this country we used to have a mass migration of animals such as buffalo,” Blackwood said. “But we’ve pretty much stopped that with development. This is one migration you can still see in great numbers.” Blackwood said spotted salamanders are unique little creatures with beautiful skins. “They are actually very delicate animals,” she said. “Their exterior is a shiny dark, dark brown with yellow dots that kind of look like someone painted them on.” Salamanders also have the capability of living very long lives, compared to many similar creatures, with a

The spotted salamander migrates from the mountain of Homewood Forest Preserve by Homewood High School to a wetland pool to find a mate and lay eggs. Photo special to the Journal

Friends of Shades Creek President Michelle Blackwood, right, and Betsy Dobbins, secretary, are making plans for the annual Salamander Festival in Homewood on Jan. 25. Journal photo by Ginny Cooper

lifespan of 30 to 40 years, Blackwood said. Another unique aspect of the salamander is the variety of ecosystems they need to survive, she said. “Their relationship with the forest is very interesting,” Blackwood said. “They eat grubs and things, but they

don’t miss the train

also need the wetlands to reproduce. If one of those parts is missing, the spotted salamander is going to be missing. It’s a good way to show how the ecosystems work together.” Spotted salamanders are also known for their mating dance, an intricate event where the salamanders spiral around each other as part of their mating ritual. The Salamander Festival marks the season when salamanders migrate from the mountain of Homewood Forest Preserve by Homewood High School to a wetland pool to find mates and lay eggs. While the festival doesn’t officially kick off until 3 p.m., Friends of Shades Creek is hosting a nature hike at Patriot Park beginning at 2 p.m. to look for birds and other animals. A program following the nature hike will include an awards presentation, the story of the spotted salamander and a chance to see the special salamander dance. University professors will also be on hand to talk and answer questions about salamanders. Educational displays will cover fish, recycling, composting, gardening, fossil tracks, native plants and wildflowers. Animal exhibits will include live salamanders as well as fish, turtles, and other creatures. Festivalgoers will have a chance to hold the salamanders, an activity Blackwood encourages. “You can really see how delicate they are,” she said. “They don’t bite, the don’t scratch. They are perfectly safe to pick up.” The festival is free, but there will be a small charge for food at the chocolate foundation. For more information, visit shadescreek.org or send an email to friendsofshadescreek@gmail.com. ❖

Save the Date Vestavia Hills

Theresa K. Thorn Jan. 23, 10 a.m. - noon Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Theresa K. Thorne, award-winning author of “Noah’s Wife and “Last Chance for Justice” will be at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest on Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. - noon. The program is free. No registration required. For more information, visit vestavialibrary.org or call 978-4678. Birmingham


Tex Hawley, left, and Larry Smith are ready to welcome visitors to the model train exhibit at the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Model Train Exhibit Jan. 23-Jan. 26 McWane Science Center There’s still time to check out the Model Train Exhibit at the McWane Science Center. Those visiting will see trains of every shape and size in this popular exhibit, which will be on display through Jan. 26. The exhibit is included in the cost of admission to the museum and free for members. Museum admission is $12 for adults and $9 for ages 2-12 and those older than 65. Children 2 and younger get in free. For more information, visit www. mcwane.org or call 714-8300.

Shred Day Jan. 23, 1-4 p.m. The Arc of Jefferson County The Arc of Jefferson County’s RecyclABILITY program will hold its first monthly shred day from 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 23 at The Arc’s main campus at 215 21st Avenue South in Birmingham. The RecyclABILITY truck and its employees will be on site to destroy confidential documents for those in the community at a discounted rate. Shred Days will be offered on the fourth Thursday of each month at The Arc. For more information, call 323-6383.

Please be our guest at our second annual Open HOuse Thursday, January 30, 2014 4pm until 6pm Please join us as we celebrate the start of a new year with generous discounts on all product lines and services, door prizes, free product samples and more! Festive food and drinks will be served.

elizabeth s. Martin, MD Danette D. Bentley, MD pure Dermatology & Aesthetics, pC 5346 stadium Trace pkwy, ste 100, Hoover, Alabama 35244 205-682-8022

To: From: Date:

April Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE:  205-823-9646 FAX:  205-824-1246 Dec. 2013

This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Jour Jan. 24, 2014 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824

please make sure all information is co including address and phone numb please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

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

Thank you for your prompt attention.

4 • Thursday, January 23, 2014 Birmingham

Hiden Lecture Jan. 23, 6-7 p.m. Birmingham Museum of Art The Birmingham Museum of Art will hold an open lecture from 6-7 p.m. on Jan. 23 by Associate Professor of Art History at Clark University, Kristina

About Town Wilson. Wilson will discuss trends in American modern design that spanned the years before and after World War II. This event is free to the public. For more information, visit www.artsbma.org. Vestavia Hills

Rebelette Reunion

Jan. 24, 6:45 p.m. Vestavia Hills High School The Vestavia Hills High School Rebelette Reunion will be Jan. 24 at the Vestavia Hills High School gym. All Vestavia Hills High School Rebelette alumni are invited to celebrate the group’s 40th year. Alumni will meet at 6:45 p.m. in the gym lobby and will be recognized during halftime of the varsity basketball game, which begins at 7:15 p.m. A reception will follow the halftime presentation. Rebelette alumni receive free admission to the game. To add your name to the email list, RSVP for the reunion, send photos from your Rebelette days or purchase reunion photo CDs and T-shirts, email rebelettereunion@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.vhhsdance.com. Homewood

Dr. Julie C Harper, MD Rebecca Edwards, CRNP Jennifer Hewitt, PA

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Hearts and Harmony in Hoover


speakers at the Bless Israel Event at Congregation Beth Hallel on Jan. 25. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at 2230 Sumpter Street. Free childcare will be provided to children up to the age of 5. For more information, email info@ shalombirmingham.com.



Magic Moment’s Night at the Circus Jan. 24 BJCC Magic Moments celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Magic Moments Night at The Greatest Show on Earth on Friday, Jan. 24. The evening begins with a private party at the BJCC East Hall followed by an exciting night under the Big Top. The event will also include a kid-friendly dinner, carnival games, magic shows and appearances by Ringling Brothers circus performers.All proceeds from this even benefit Magic Moments. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit magicmoments. org. Resolve: Get Into Shape Jan. 25, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Vestavia HIlls Library in the Forest Get motivated to move at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest. Jump start your exercise routine, learn basic nutrition tips, and have all of your fitness questions answered by a professional. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes. For more information, visit vestavialibrary.org or call 978-4678. Hoover

Bless Israel Event Jan. 25, 7 p.m. Congregation Beth Hallel Retired Major Gen. Eyal Ben-Reuven and Eiki (Itshak) Elner, a former executive director of the “Constitution for Israel” movement will be the guest

Committee members of the Hoover Service Club’s second annual Hearts and Harmony Gala are making plans for the Feb. 14 event. From left: Judy Thompson, Lynda Wasden, Martha Veasy, Carla Kanafani and Elaine Thompson. Photo special to the Journal

Hearts and Harmony Gala Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m. Embassy Suites Hotel Join the Hoover Service Club for its second annual Hearts and Harmony Galla at the Embassy Suites Hotel on John Hawkins Parkway. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. The night will include a steak dinner, as well as a live auction and silent auction. There are many great things to win, such as a shrimp boil for 50 provided by Shane Hill, author of the “Tailgate Cookbook,” a trip to Hawaii from AAA Alabama and a special piece of jewelry from Steeds Jewelers. The band “Ain’t Misbehavin” will provide music for the evening. Proceeds will go to the charities supported by the Hoover Service Club, including Oak Mountain Missions, United Way Food Bank at Green Valley Baptist Church, Focus on Recovery, Jefferson County Foster Children’s Fund for School Supplies and Aldridge Gardens in Hoover. Tickets are $100 per person. For tickets or additional information, call Lynda Wasden at 9811242 or send an email to hscinformation-HSC@yahoo.com. ❖

The Pointe Ball Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m. The Club Pointe Ball, one of Birmingham’s most anticipated black-tie events of the season, will be held at The Club on Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. This event, designed to celebrate The Alabama Ballet’s season of magnificent performances and profession dancers, begins with an intimate performance by Alabama Ballet’s professional company members in the Ball Room of The Club. Following the performance, dancers and guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner. As dessert is served, the Soul Searchers take the stage to provide fantastic music for guests to enjoy on the dance floor. All proceeds from Pointe Ball benefit Alabama Ballet’s outreach and education programs. Tickets are $400 for individuals and $650 per couple. Contact Stacey Turner at staceyturner@ alabamaballet.org for more information.

Vestavia Hills

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VSA Acoustic Soup Jan. 30, 5:30-8:30 p.m. WorkPlay The VSA Alabama Junior Patrons will host the eighth annual Acoustic Soup fundraiser from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 at WorkPlay. The event will feature live music by the Big Tasties, drinks, delicious soups, breads and desserts prepared by some of Birmingham’s most popular chefs. The event will also include a silent auction including jewelry, art and gift certificates. All proceeds benefit VSA Alabama and its programs serving children and adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses through the arts. Tickets are $35 each or $60 for a pair. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 307-6300, extension 3. Vestavia Hills

Painting with PALS Fundraiser Jan. 30 Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Patrons can sip their favorite wines and create a piece of art at the Painting with PALS (People Affecting Library Success) fundraiser for the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest on Jan. 30. Vestavia Hills High School art teacher Laura Daly will help participants create a painting to take home. Guests can bring their favorite wine or beverage to the event, which will be held in the library’s community room. The cost is $25 per person and proceeds benefit the library’s children’s department. The deadline to register is Jan. 24. To register, send an email message to

support@librarypals.org. Homewood

AARP Smart Driver Course Feb. 1, 9:30 a.m. Homewood Public Library The Homewood Public Library will present the AARP Smart Driver Course with Anne Walker at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 1. The AARP Smart Driver Course is the nation’s first and largest refresher course designed specifically for older drivers. This course provides information to refresh your driving knowledge and skills, and will help teach you to drive more safely and confidently. Participants who complete the course may be eligible for an automobile discount for up to three years. Registration is required. Tickets are $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. To register, call Anne Walker at 637-6100. Vestavia Hills

Rhythm & Muse Gala Feb. 1, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Vestavia Hills Country Club The Birmingham Music Club will host the Rhythm & Muse Gala at the Vestavia Hills Country Club from 6:3010:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. The annual event funds music scholarships for college students. The cocktail-hour dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature “Bubbles for Baubles” where guests can donate $25 for a glass of champagne and a chance to win prizes. The event will also include dancing, a performance by jazz flutist Kim Scott and a live auction by Grainger and Thagard Auctioneers. Tickets are $75 per person or $150 per couple. For tickets, contact Beth Adams at dsadams301@aol. com or Martha Black at bobnmartha@ bellsouth.net. Birmingham

Beaker Bash 2014 Feb. 1, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

McWane Science Center McWane Science Center will host the 13th Annual Beaker Bash on Feb. 1 from 5-8 p.m. This year’s event, Bash To The Future, will transport families through time in search for some of the world’s most famous scientists for an evening of family-friendly science and fun. This fundraising event directly supports statewide science education programs and makes field trips affordable for thousands of students. For more information, go to www.mcwane. org or call 714-8220.

reservations with the exception of the 5:30 p.m. banquet on Feb. 6 with guest speaker, Wayne Flynt. The festival includes a tour of Oak Hill Cemetery, lectures by Arthur Honegger and children’s program and puppet shows, two concerts and more. For more information, visit www.ipc-usa.org or call 933-3700.

Opening Awards Reception Feb. 2, 2-4 p.m. Soon-Bok Lee Sellers Art Gallery The Birmingham Branch of the National League of American Pen Women presents their annual art exhibit at Artists on the Bluff Soon-Bok Lee Sellers Art Gallery. The opening awards reception will be held on Feb. 2 from 2-4 p.m. For more information, call 6375946 or 979-5699. Artists on the Bluff is located at 571 Park Avenue in Hoover. Druscilla Defalque of Birmingham will be the juror for the exhibit. Winnie Cooper of Hoover and Sandra Davis of Mountain Brook are the exhibit co-chairs. The exhibit will run through Feb. 26. Birmingham

Mountain Brook

Religious Arts Festival Feb. 2-9 Independent Presbyterian Church Indpendent Presbyterian Church will host its 43rd annual Religious Arts Festival Feb. 2-9. All of the events are free and require no advance

sale at 3001 U.S. 280 in Mountain Brook will run from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Feb. 7 and from 9 a.m. until noon. Several items will be reduced to half price on Feb. 8. The sale proceeds will

support the missions of Mountain Brook Community Church. To register as a volunteer, get sale guidelines and for more information, visit www. mbccsweetrepeats.blogspot.com.❖

Jazz Cat Royalty Ready for Ball

Vestavia Hills

Legacy League Scholarship Luncheon Feb. 6, 11:30 a.m. Vestavia Country Club The Legacy League, an auxiliary of Samford University will present Jennifer Rothschild as the speaker at its annual Scholarship Luncheon on Feb. 6. Rothschild is the best-selling author of “Lessons I Learned in the Dark” and founder of Fresh Grounded Faith Conferences. She is also an accomplished songwriter. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Vestavia Country Club. Tickets are $50 per person. Proceeds from the luncheon will provide scholarships to deserving students in need. The public is invited to the luncheon but reservations are required. Reservations can be made online through Jan. 31 at www.samford.edu/ legacyleague. For more information, call 726-2247.


Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 5

About Town


Sweet Repeats Children’s Consignment Sale Feb. 7-8 Mountain Brook Community Church Mountain Brook Community Church will host the Sweet Repeats Children’s Consignment Sale on Feb. 7-8. The

spring season registration is now open!


The Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary is busy planning its annual Jazz Cat Ball on Feb. 22. From left: Jazz Cat Ball King Scott Register, Jazz Cat Ball Chair Missy Ellis holding Nina Rose and Jazz Cat Ball Queen Karen Wood. Photo special to the Journal

Jazz Cat Ball Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Old Car Heaven The Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary will hold its third annual Jazz Cat Ball on Feb. 22 at Old Car Heaven. The event will begin at 7 p.m. against a backdrop of rare antique cars used in movies and owned by celebrities. The event’s Mardi Gras atmosphere will include a Cajun Cook-off featuring some of Birmingham’s best restaurants, dancing to the sounds of Streetkar, a gaming casino, a live and silent auction and more. The event will help raise money for homeless pets and to increase awareness of the programs offered by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. This year’s Jazz Cat Ball King is Scott Register. Karen Wood is the 2014 Jazz Cat Ball Queen and the chair of this year’s event is Missy Ellis. Tickets are $100 per person or $150 for a pair. For more information, call 942-1211 or visit www. gbhs.org. ❖

• OTM Miracle League is open to all players age 5 and up, including adults. • No cost to play! • Team uniforms, hats, and season-end trophy/medal will be provided. to register go to: hooverathleticassociation.com Then choose OTM Miracle League Baseball

For more information about the Over the Mountain Miracle League please go to: www.otmmiracleleague.org

ymcabham.org/ JOIN For the Y in your community, call

801-YMCA A citywide membership provides more locations, more classes, more choices.

6 • Thursday, January 23, 2014



Mall Mystery

Levine Draws on Eastwood Memories to Write First Novel By Ginny Cooper

Journal staff writer


aury Levine, a lifelong Vestavia Hills resident, For over 90 years, Levy’s has is a jack-of-all trades. A been Birmingham's Specialist quality assurance manager by day in Antique and Estate Jewelry and drummer by night, he recently penned his first novel, “Shopping as well as Fine Diamonds, Bagged.” Art and Antiques. “Shopping Bagged” is a humorous mystery novel that follows the story of shopping center developer Beauregard Henry, who has a body buried under the fountain in one of his malls. “It isn’t just a random murder,” Levine said. “The novel answers the questions: Why did he put it there? Who is it? What is happening to make it come to light?” The real impetus for the novel, Levine said, was the unexpected death Maury Levine with his debut novel, “Shopping Bagged,” during a book signof his literary hero, Donald Westlake, ing at Little Professor Book Center in Homewood. Journal photo by Ginny Cooper a prolific mystery writer. “It (Westlake’s death) was kind ‘Maury writes beautifully.’ I didn’t cry?’” he said. of sudden, and it made me think. I even know he was literate! Now that This, however, doesn’t seem to be had this singular idea for a while, and I’ve read the book, I know it’s true,” a problem Levine will have to face. so when he died I thought, ‘I’m just Herk said. He celebrated the release Dec. 17 at going to write a book,’” he said. Writing this novel, Levine said, a book signing at Homewood’s Little The novel, Levine said, was also was “fantastic” and “very, very fulfill- Professor Book Center, where the inspired by his childhood desire ing.” book sold out within half an hour. to be a mall manager. Levine’s The hardest part of the process, Betty Bell, the last person to snag father, Herk Levine, had an office in 2116 2nd Avenue North • (205) 251-3381 he said, was shopping the book to a copy at the event in Homewood, Birmingham’s Eastwood Mall, which publishers. said she would be taking the book was the first enclosed mall in the www.levysfinejewelry.com “It’s hard to mentally prepare with her to California. South when it opened in 1960. Levine yourself for the constant rejection,” Though he is very excited about recalls many vacations spent roamhe said. the success of his first novel, Levine ing the stores of the mall and said the Levine was sitting in the children’s said he’s not finished writing. mall in the novel is “very similar” to section of the Vestavia Hills Library “I already have an idea for my Eastwood Mall. in the Forest with his 8-year-old twin second book,” he said. To: Jennifer Levine, who studied business “Shopping Bagged” is available management at Birmingham-Southern daughters when he got the email notiFrom: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 fying him that Black Rose Writing on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com College, said writing has always been FAX: 205-824-1246 was going to publish his book. and booksamillion.com as well as at an enjoyable experience for him. Date: March 2013 Levine said his family has been Little Professor Book Center. “In high school and college, I very supportive throughout the whole Levine will participate in the Local loved writing,” he said. This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiNHisJOurNAl for the teachers process. Author Expo at the Birmingham father said Levine’s April 4, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes 824-1246. “One of my daughters, Mary, who Public Library on Feb. 1 and the alwaystoremarked on his talent. is very thoughtful, said, ‘Daddy, what Southern Writers Festival at Barnes & “His first year at BirminghamSouthern, hisaddress English teacher told me, if nobody likes your book? Will you Noble at The Summit on Feb. 22. ❖ Please make sure all information is correct, including and phone


Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

People Notes

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. He is the Polar and Marine Biology

Vestavia Resident Addresses Audubon Society at Annual Dinner

A Vestavia Hills resident was selected to speak at the Birmingham Audubon Society’s annual holiday dinner. Dr. James McClintock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Biology spoke at the annual event at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at The Club in Homewood. McClintock James McClintock discussed “From Plankton to Penguins: The Impacts of Climate Change along the Antarctic Peninsula” at the Birmingham Audubon Society’s 67th annual holiday dinner.

Endowed Professor at UAB and the author of the book “Lost Antarctica-Adventures in a Disappearing Land.”

Homewood Resident Inducted into Engineering Honor Society at AU A Homewood resident was recently inducted into the engineering profession’s highest academic honor society. Sam Hutto is now a member of the Auburn University chapter of Tau Beta Pi. The Auburn senior is majoring in Sam Hutto electrical engineering. Hutto graduated from

Homewood High School in 2009. Tau Beta Pi was founded in 1885 at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., as the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa, the highest academic honor that liberal arts students may obtain. Hutto is the son of Kathy and Porter Hutto of Homewood.

Indian Springs Resident Studies Abroad in Greece An Indian Springs resident recently returned from a three-month semester program at Harding University in Greece. As part of the university’s program in Greece, Bailey Webster spent the semester immersed in Greek culture. Webster had the opportunity to experience a Mediterranean cruise and visit historical sites in the Peloponnese, Northern Greece, Turkey and Israel. She lived in Porto Rafti, Attica, cultivating new relationships with fellow

students. Webster and her classmates had a full course load available to them taught by visiting Harding professors. The professors also traveled with Webster and the other students in the program. The classes encouraged exploration and interaction among the people of Greece.

Hartley Earns Eagle Scout Rank with Troop 53 A Mountain Brook resident has earned the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. Gaines Williams Hartley, a member of Boy Scout Troop 53, recently received his Eagle Scout rank after completing all the Gaines Hartley requirements to earn the honor. On his way to Eagle Scout rank, Hartley earned 22 merit badges and designed and completed a service project. During his time as a Boy Scout, Gaines served in several leadership positions including assistant senior patrol leader, patrol leader, assistant patrol leader and scribe. For his Eagle Scout service project, Hartley built two picnic tables and four benches for Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Center that were placed at the Sullivan Center. The son of Cece and Kenny Hartley, he joined Boy Scouts in the spring of 2008. Hartley is a junior at Mountain Brook High School where he is on the football team and an active member of the Canterbury United Methodist Youth Group. A Court of Honor was held at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church to recognize

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 7



him for his completion of his Eagle Scout rank.

Homewood Resident Awarded Fellowship A Homewood resident recently received a fellowship to study conspiracy theories abroad. Alexander Beringer, an assistant professor of English at the University of Montevallo, has been awarded a fellowship to serve as a visiting scholar for the Conspiracy and Democracy project at the Alex Beringer University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The goal of this five-year research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is to explore the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories in modern societies and the factors that promulgate them. The project is not designed to debunk particular theories but to provide a “natural history” of conspiracy theorizing. While in the U.K., Beringer will participate in seminars with other scholars, give public lectures about his research and work on his book project, “The Pleasures of Conspiracy in American Literature and Culture 18651910.”

Mountain Brook Resident Performs in Festival A Mountain Brook resident recently performed in the 2013 Christmas Festival presented by the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Claire Smith, a senior, performed in “Before the Marvel” with the Wheaton College Concert Choir. She sang soprano. The festival was aired on several

Moody Radio Network stations.

North Shelby Resident Lands Theatre Role A North Shelby resident recently had a role in a play written by a renowned theatre artist. Joshua William Copeland of Meadowbrook was part of the production of “Still. Going Forward Backward” at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. Copeland is a freshman at Hendrix.

Mountain Brook Resident Named to Prefect Board A Mountain Brook resident was recently named to one of the highest leadership positions at Woodberry Forest School. Whit Hobbs is now a member of the Prefect Board at the boarding school for boys in Woodberry, Va. The Prefect Board is responsible for administering the student-run honor system, one of Woodberry’s most important traditions, according to school officials.

In addition to introducing new students to the honor system, Hobbs serves as a mentor to younger students and assists with dormitory supervision. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. David W. Whit Hobbs Hobbs. ❖




THE ALL NEW 2014 RAM 1500

James harwell

Moonlight on the Mountain Friday, Feb. 7th

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8 • Thursday, January 23, 2014

u Mountain Brook

u vestavia hills

Former Mayor Recieves Chair’s Choice Award

Awards Presented at Chamber Luncheon u online

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

For more coverage of the awards luncheon, go to otmj.com and look for the story on Feb. 6.

The parks maintenance superintendent for the city of Mountain Brook was named the Employee of the Year last week. Terry Webb, who has worked in the Mountain Brook Parks and Recreation Department for 25 years, was presented with the award by City Manager Sam Gaston on Jan. 16 at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual Chamber Luncheon at The Club in Homewood. In making the award presentation, Gaston noted that Webb was the first person hired in the Parks and Recreation Department by Lyman Tidwell, the former department superintendent who retired in September 2013 after more than a quarter century of service to Mountain Brook. Gaston said Webb does a great job maintaining the city’s six parks, its play areas and its athletic fields. Gaston said Webb and his staff will soon have another Mountain Brook park to take care of when the city adds a seventh park. “These parks reflect the ideas of Robert Jemison Jr., and we are fortunate to have Terry taking care of them,” he said. In accepting the award, Webb said he was humbled by Gaston’s kind words. “Your life is predicated on special moments, and this is a special moment in my life,” he said. “I’m really proud and humbled to accept this award.” The Emmet O’Neal Library also presented its Tynes Award at the luncheon last week. The award is named for Bill Tynes, a longtime champion of the library who was on hand for the awards ceremony. Library Director Sue DeBrecht presented the award to Forsyth Donald, who served on the library board for several years and as a trustee. DeBrecht said Donald was instrumental in raising money and helping to design the library. “Being associated with the library has been one of the


The Tynes Award, named after Bill Tynes, left, was presented to Forsyth Donald, middle, by Sue DeBrecht, director of the Emmet O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. Journal photos by Keysha Drexel

greatest pleasures of my life,” Donald said when accepting the award. While the recipients were not on hand for the Jan. 16 awards luncheon, Mountain Brook also recently named Mountain Brook City Manager Sam its other city Gaston, right, presented the Employee employees of of the Year Award to Terry Webb, the city’s parks maintenance superintendent. the year. The Mountain Brook Police Department named Det. Don Garrett and Kathy Boyd, a dispatch supervisor, as its Employees of the Year. Firefighter John Head was named the Fire Department of Employee of the Year. The Mountain Brook Public Works Department’s Employees of the Year were Andrew Gidley and Clint Clark, public works mechanics. ❖

The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce presented its Chair’s Choice Award to Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum, the former mayor of Vestavia Hills and past president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, at the chamber’s annual awards luncheon at Vestavia Country Club on Jan. 14. (See story on page 27). “My vocabulary is probably not sufficient enough to honor this man the way he deserves to be honored,” Scott Perry, past chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, said as he introduced McCallum as the award winner. Perry said McCallum was elected mayor in 2000 and during his two terms was instrumental in the annexation of Cahaba Heights into the city. “He’s had so many successes in helping Vestavia Hills, but he never

wants to shine the spotlight on his accomplishments,” Perry said. Perry said he was recently on hand when McCallum spoke to some students at Pizitz Middle School. “He didn’t tell them about the wonderful things he’s done for this city,” Perry said. “Instead, he told them about his first day as mayor and how he spent it listening to the citizens.” Perry said this would be the last time the Chamber presents the Chair’s Choice Award. “From now on, this award will be named the Charles A. McCallum Leadership Award,” Perry said. McCallum, who just completed his second year as a director-at-large with the chamber, installed the chamber’s new slate of officers and directors for 2014. ❖

Dr. Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum was presented with the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce’s Chair’s Choice Award. He’s pictured with Martha Cook, left, and Karen Odle, right. Photo special to the Journal by Mike Jackson

u Mountain Brook

Construction Begins on Grand Bohemian Hotel By Ginny Cooper

Journal staff writer

Construction began last week on the Grand Bohemian Hotel at Parke Lane in Mountain Brook. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Jan. 16 at the site where the boutique hotel will be built. At the event, Richard Kessler, the Kessler Collection’s chairman and chief executive officer, promised that the 100-room hotel will “add to the quality of life” in Mountain Brook. The Kessler Collection is partnering with the Lane Parke developer, Birmingham-based Daniel Corp., and Evson Inc. on the hotel project. Officials said the hotel will be the centerpiece of the 28-acre retail, office and residential Lane Parke project. Lane Parke will include about 185,000 square feet of retail and office space along with 276 upscale apartments at the luxury hotel. The $35 million hotel will be much more than the average hotel, Kessler said, with such amenities as 12,630 square feet of meeting space, an interactive cooking school, wine tasting and blending rooms and a dining room deco-

rated in a Porsche automotive theme made possible by a partnership with the prestigious brand. “The Grand Bohemian is going to be a very amazing place,” Kessler said.

The hotel will include the Poseidon Spa, a full-service facility easily accessible to both guests and the community, Kessler said. The hotel will have a rooftop restaurant and

Officials with the city of Mountain Brook, The Kessler Collection and other partnering organizations attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook last week. From left: Barry Bloom, Pat Henry, Day Dantzler, Glenn Elkes, Richard Kessler, Mayor Terry Oden, Laura Kessler Van Til, Mark Kessler, John Knuttson and Robin Savage. Journal photo by Ginny Cooper

bar that will be a draw for both local and out-oftown diners, he said. Kessler said the Grand Bohemian will also include a sculpture garden, art gallery and handcrafted pianos. “It’s an experience in art, it’s an experience in music and hopefully it is an experience in culture,” Kessler said. Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden said he looks forward to a “long, prosperous relationship with the Kessler corporation.” The Grand Bohemian Mountain Brook will be the 11th hotel in the Kessler Collection, with others in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico and North Carolina. Barry Bloom, executive vice president of asset management at Inland American Lodging Advisor Inc., said his company is “excited to continue investing in Birmingham.” Doug Neil, vice president of marketing and development for the Daniel Corp., said the project “began as a vision” and will be a “muchneeded asset” for the area. The general contractor for the project is Robins & Morton. Plans are for the hotel to open in March 2015. ❖

u Homewood

Council OKS Tax Incentives for Business The Homewood City Council recently approved a sales tax rebate incentive to encourage the developer of a Dunkin’ Donuts/BaskinRobbins shop to continue with plans to bring the business to the city. The Council agreed to rebate the business its sales tax for five years, or up to $88,000, whichever comes first, to compensate for its expense to tie to the Jefferson County sewer line. For more than a year, the city has been in negotiations with the developer to build a Dunkin’ Donuts/BaskinRobbins shop on a vacant lot at 33 Green Springs Highway and Oxmoor Road, the former site of a Checkers restaurant. However, the project stalled because the previous tenant of the property had tied onto the county sewer line illegally, Mayor Scott McBrayer said. To connect to the county’s sewer line, the developer would have to shoulder the expense to bore under Green Springs Highway and attach to the sewer line in front of the Shell gas station, the mayor said. But that would be cost-prohibitive to the developer, who has a set budget for the project, he added. “That’s why when they met with me to see what we could do to keep the

project moving, I said, I’ll talk to the council to see if they would be willing to do some tax incentives, and they were,” McBrayer said. At the Jan. 13 council meeting, McBrayer thanked the 11-member council for its willingness to approve the incentives and for helping create a climate where business is welcomed in Homewood. City Councilman Peter Wright said the council’s action was an effort “to keep them moving forward with that project.” McBrayer said he expects the city to recoup its investment rather quickly because of the popularity of the other Dunkin’ Donuts shop near Homewood’s Target store. “As well as their other store has done near Brookwood Mall, we certainly want another location for them here in Homewood,” he said. “It also ties together all the things we’re trying to accomplish as far as developing the area from Green Springs Highway to West Oxmoor Road down to Barber Court. We really don’t need a vacant piece of property sitting there near another entrance into Homewood.” The mayor said he expects the store to open later this year. ❖ —William C. Singleton III

u vestavia Hills

City Hall Funding Moves Ahead The city of Vestavia Hills has moved forward with plans to pay for a new city hall. The Council recently authorized the city to issue up to $20 million in general warrants, or bonds, for a new city hall. The city will issue one warrant for $10 million. However, depending on the cost of the facility, the city has the option to issue another warrant for an additional $10 million, City Manager Jeff Downes said. “We will be finalizing what that other number is and going back to the market for the second half of this,” he said. “That could reach up to $20 million depending on what the ultimate cost would be for that city hall.” The warrants’ maturity dates are 2031, 2032 and 2033 at an interest rate of 4.1 percent, 4.0 percent and 4.0 percent respectively. City officials plan to vacate the existing municipal complex at 513 Montgomery Highway to another site

farther south on the highway. They plan to tear down the old Food World building in the Vestavia Plaza Shopping Center at 1052 Montgomery Highway and the abandoned Joe’s Ranch House property at 1105 Mayland Lane and build a new municipal complex. The current city hall was built in the 1950s and doesn’t meet the needs of the police or fire administration, city officials say. The current building is about 35,000 square feet, and the city needs at least between 40,000 and 50,000 square feet. City officials have been negotiating with Chick-fil-A as a possible buyer of the current city hall. The fast-food restaurant based in Atlanta has a letter of intent on the property and is involved in a due-diligence process to determine if the site suits its needs. If Chick-fil-A acquires the property, it will have to be rezoned from residential to business. —William C. Singleton III

u hoover

Preserve Sidewalk Project in the Works The Preserve sidewalk project in Hoover is a step closer to construction. The Hoover City Council recently authorized the mayor to enter a contract with Hydro Engineering Solutions to begin design work on the sidewalk project. The city plans to build about a mile of sidewalk along Preserve Parkway from Sulphur Springs Road to the first traffic circle at the Preserve Town Center. The design work will cost about $84,000, of which the city will pay about 20 percent, or $16,800. Funds from

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 9



the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham will make up the difference. Mayor Gary Ivey said the design work will take about a year to complete, and it will take about three years for the entire project to be completed. “This is something we’ve been heavily pursuing,” he said. “We have several sidewalk projects going on.” The City Council and mayor allocated about $1.7 million in its 2013-2014 fiscal budget for sidewalk improvements. —William C. Singleton III

u vestavia Hills

Library Will Get More Parking Spaces Since it opened in December 2010, the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest has seen a steady flow of patrons, which city officials say has been a mixed blessing. Although the flow is an indication the library is being put to good use, it has often left patrons with nowhere to park near the library if they don’t arrive early or in time to catch a vacant space.

The City Council hopes to help alleviate some of the parking problems at the new library. The council approved a series of actions aimed at providing new parking space for the library. The city agreed to purchase a house at 1421 Roundhill Road, (pictured above) adjacent to the library, for $309,500. The city plans to tear down the house to pave the way for nearly 50 additional parking spaces. The council also recently agreed to

hire Walter Schoel Engineering Co. to design and survey for the additional parking spaces. The contract is not to exceed $29,000. “We have negotiated a purchase agreement with the property owner to purchase the house, demolish it and create an expansion of the current parking lot consistent with the look and feel of the existing library,” City Manager Jeff Downes said. “We have met with the neighbors in the area to get their consent. We’ve got their consent, so we’re moving forward with our plans.” The new lots will give the library about 140 parking spots, augmenting the 90 spaces the library has now. “I’m very excited about it,” said Library Director Taneisha Tucker. “Although I believe we’ll still have to use shuttles for our larger programs, we won’t have as much demand for parking as we have now.” Tucker said the library has used a shuttle to transport patrons to the library when it sponsors its Family Night or Concert series. The shuttle allows patrons to park at the city’s civic center, old library site or Wald Park and buses them to the library. The library shares the service with the parks and recreation department. It’s more convenient for patrons to have parking already near the library, particularly elderly patrons and mothers with small children, Tucker added. Downes said the city’s timetable is to have the parking lot under construction by spring with completion in about six months. —William C. Singleton III

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10 • Thursday, January 23, 2014

Agents of Change

Young Volunteers Work for Better Communities Stories by Keysha Drexel • Photos by Marsha Perry



Below is the second part in our series of how young philanthropists in Birmingham are using their time and talents to make a difference. In our Jan. 23 issue, we profiled Niki Harris, Robert MacArthur, Tommy Mayfield and Jennier White. Below learn about four more young volunteers and the organizations they support. If you know someone who represents “The Giving Generation,” share their stories with us at kdrexel@otmj.com.

Emily Branum, 36

John Obert, 30

Hayden Patton, 31

Virginia Beale, 31

u Residence: Mountain Brook

u Residence: Hoover

u Residence: Mountain Brook

u Residence: Homewood

u Occupation: Practicing partner with the law firm of Balch & Bingham

u Occupation: Co-owner of J3 Organics

u Occupation: Recruiter at Northwestern Mutual

u Education: Graduate of Hoover High School and attended Bellhaven University and the University of North Alabama

u Education: Graduate of Mountain Brook High School and the University of Alabama

u Occupation: Ninth-grade English teacher at Homewood High School

u Education: Graduate of

Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge, La., Baylor University and the University of Virginia Law School u Organization: Symphony 30

junior board member. For more information, visit www.alabamasymphony.org

u Organization: Camp Smile-A-

Mile junior board member. For more information, visit www. campsam.org

“You Have to Ask Yourself, ‘If I Don’t Who Will?’”

‘Hearing about Sick Children Really Pulled at My Heart’

Emily Branum said growing up in Baton Rouge, La., gave her an appreciation for music, but it’s the Mountain Brook resident’s love for her new hometown that motivates her to try to make the Birmingham metro area a better place to live. Branum, 36, a practicing partner at the Balch & Bingham law firm, is a member of Symphony 30, an Alabama Symphony Orchestra support group that was formed about 17 years ago. Its membership includes young women dedicated to promoting the activities and programs of the orchestra for young patrons. “I’m passionate about the impact that the symphony has on our community with respect to the arts and economic development,” Branum said. “The arts give a city a soul. I think a vibrant arts community is also important for the growth of Birmingham.” Branum credits her mother, a painter, for instilling in her an appre-

John Obert grew up in Hoover watching cartoons on Saturday mornings like most kids his age. But it was not an animated show that most captured his attention--and heart--and led him to devote his free time to helping others. The 30-year-old Hoover resident said it was the Jerry Lewis telethons to help sick children that inspired him to get involved with Camp Smile-AMile, a nonprofit organization that provides camp and other programs for children who have or have had cancer. “Most people have something that they really care about. For some people it’s the welfare of animals. Some people want to help the environment or the elderly,” Obert said. “For me, watching the Jerry Lewis telethons and hearing about sick children really pulled at my heart, and I knew I wanted to do something to help.” Obert, who co-owns J3 Organics, an urban farm in Bessemer, has been a member of the Camp SAM junior

See, Branum, page 11

See, obert, page 12

u Organization: Mitchell’s Place junior council member. For more information, visit mitchells-place. com

‘I Wanted to be a Part of Something That Is Helping Children’ Growing up in Mountain Brook, Hayden Patton said serving the community was just a part of her everyday life. The 31-year-old said some of her fondest childhood memories are of going to work with her late grandmother, Laura Emma “L.E.” Patton, when Patton was on staff at Magic Moments, a nonprofit organization in Birmingham that fulfills the non-medical wishes of chronically ill Alabama children. “From a very early age, I was exposed to a nonprofit environment and taught the responsibility to do something to give back to other people,” Patton said. To fulfill that responsibility she feels to give back, Patton serves on the junior council of Mitchell’s Place, a family-oriented, comprehensive treatment and services center for children and adolescents with Autism

See, Patton, page 13

u Education: Graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile and the University of Mississippi. u Organization: The Literacy Council of Central Alabama founding junior board member. For more information, visit alliteracycouncil.wordpress.com

‘Find Something That Really Speaks to You’ When Virginia Beale moved to the Over the Mountain area a few years ago, the 31-year-old said she was shocked to learn that so many adults in the Birmingham metro area cannot read. And for the past three years, the ninth-grade English teacher at Homewood High School has made it her mission to change that. Beale, of Homewood, is on the junior board of The Literacy Council of Central Alabama. Formed in 1991 by the United Way of Central Alabama, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Junior League of Alabama, the nonprofit organization seeks to develop, strengthen and support basic literacy for those in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker counties. “To find out that there are more than 92,000 functionally illiterate adults living in Central Alabama was just shocking to me,” she said. “That means there are thousands of adults in our area who can’t fill out a job application or even read the label on See, beale, page 12



Branum, From page 10

ciation for the arts. “I was exposed to all kinds of different art and music because that’s so prevalent in Louisiana,” she said. “I feel like artists create paintings out of nothing and musicians make art out of silence. I have a real appreciation for that ability, that process.” And now that she and her husband, Joel, are parents to 7-year-old Henry and 4-year-old Ruth, Branum said it’s more important to her than ever to pass along that reverence for the arts and music. “My greatest fear is that my kids won’t want to stay here after they grow up, so I want to support the arts to make Birmingham a great place for everyone’s kids,” she said. That desire to make sure all children in the area have a chance to hear the ASO and learn about music is one of the reasons Branum said she enjoys volunteering with Symphony 30. “I feel really strongly that the symphony shouldn’t be reserved for a certain socioeconomic class,” she said. “That’s why I love that the money raised by Symphony 30 goes to support the ASO’s outreach programs, including the youth education and orchestra programs.” In addition to offering field trip concerts to students, the ASO has in-school programs like Musicians Activating Growth in Classrooms, or MAGIC. The program brings ASO musicians into classrooms to teach arts-integrated, curriculum-based lessons and provide teachers with professional development in music education. Symphony 30 also works to promote the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to giving young musicians from across the state the opportunity to learn and grow through rehearsing and performing in a highly professional setting. “It would break my heart if we couldn’t foster the talent of the children in our community that have a musical inclination. That’s why the youth orchestra is so important,” she

said. The ASO performs 20 free community engagement concerts a year. The concerts are aimed at giving more people the opportunity to hear great music performed by professional musicians, Branum said. “It enables the ASO to reach a diverse audience that includes people that don’t have access to attend events at the Alys Stephens Center,” she said. Symphony 30’s main fundraiser each year is the Symphony 30 Picnic, which is put on with the help of title sponsor Brookwood Medical Center and donations of food and food service staff from Jim ’N Nick’s Barbecue. Branum chaired the 2013 event in September at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which raised more than $30,000 for the ASO. “I’d say that one of the most rewarding aspects of chairing the picnic this year has been seeing firsthand how generous our community is, especially Brookwood Medical Center and Jim ’N Nick’s, who have sponsored the picnic and grown with us,” Branum said. Branum said attendance at the family-friendly fundraiser has increased over the years from a few hundred attendees to more than 600 at the 2013 event. John Stone, the ASO’s director of development, said without the efforts of Branum and others involved in Symphony 30, the education and youth orchestra programs would not be possible. “Emily was instrumental in the success of the 2013 Symphony 30 Picnic benefiting the ASO and its education initiatives,” Stone said. “If it weren’t for the Picnic, we wouldn’t be able to do all that we do in the realm of education and outreach.” Stone said Branum is a successful advocate for the symphony’s mission of expanding the cultural, educational and artistic benefits of having a world-class symphony orchestra in Alabama. “Emily is obviously passionate for our cause and understands why giving the gift of music to Alabama’s chil-

dren and adults can reap incredible benefits down the road,” Stone said. Branum said she thinks people enjoy the Symphony 30 Picnic because it is the rare fundraiser that welcomes children. “You don’t have to talk your husband into wearing a tux, and you don’t have to find a babysitter,” she said. “It’s a really laidback atmosphere where you get to be with your friends and family and enjoy great music while raising money for the ASO.” Branum said her parents led by example and that civic service is something she sees as part of her responsibilities as a member of the community. She said another big influence on her philanthropic efforts has been Stephen Black, the founder of Impact Alabama. “He’s a true civil servant and has devoted all his energy to bettering Alabama,” she said. “Watching his commitment to the state is something I’ve learned from and been inspired by since I’ve known him.” Branum said she knows for many people, finding the time to volunteer can be difficult. “But you have to ask yourself, ‘If I don’t, who will?’ and realize that you can make a difference in whatever time you can give,” she said. Branum said when it comes to volunteering and philanthropic pursuits, it is also important to use your talents and professional background and skills. “My experiences in my career have given me strengths that I feel obligated to share, and I encourage other people to use their professional training and experiences to benefit the community,” she said. Branum said she’ll continue to To: a make the Birmingham metro area From: place with a healthy arts community that not only attracts new people but new businesses and new opportunities Date: for growth. “This is a community that we really believe in and want to make even better,” she said. “I want Birmingham to be a place my kids want to stay.” ❖

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 11

Looking for an investment in your child's future?

Shades Mountain Christian School Now enrolling for Fall 2014 For more information contact Lora Vifquain, 978-6001 or 978-9311 smcs.org

SMCS Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 Jan 2014

This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for th Jan. 9 2014 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.

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12 • Thursday, January 23, 2014

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From page 10

board for about five years. But Obert started volunteering his time to help sick children even before that. “I started volunteering at Children’s (of Alabama) about seven or eight years ago and initially started as a greeter,” he said. “I then started volunteering in the orthopedics clinic and in the stem cell unit and then moved to the oncology unit.” At that time, Obert said, the hospital didn’t have a lot of male volunteers, and he saw the opportunity to help the young boys fighting cancer. “I would spend all day every Thursday just hanging out with them, playing video games or making paper airplanes to throw at the nurses. We would talk about school and their interests and really, my aim was to get their minds off cancer for a little while and just let them be kids,” he said. One of the young cancer patients Obert befriended during his time volunteering at Children’s of Alabama was Tucker Beam. The Hoover 8-year-old was battling his third type of cancer when Obert met him. “Tucker had such incredible insights to be so young, and I will never forget the time I spent with him that year,” Obert said. It was while getting to know Beam and his family that Obert learned about what the families of young cancer patients go through on a daily basis, he said. “Behind every young cancer patient is a family that still has to cut the grass and work to pay the bills and take care of the other children in the family,” he said. “I got to see that it is not just the child that is affected by this terrible diagnosis.” Obert said he heard about Camp SAM while volunteering at Children’s of Alabama. “I heard a lot of the nurses talking about Camp SAM, and after forming a lot of personal relationships with the young cancer patients at Children’s,


From page 10

a prescription bottle. I knew I had to get involved in trying to make that awful statistic go away.” Beale said her father is an educator, and she credits his example for making her passionate about literacy and learning. “I grew up in an environment where education was really valued, and I want to extend that to people who have not had those kinds of advantages,” she said. Beale grew up in Mobile and graduated from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi. She came to Alabama about a year after her younger sister, Susan Shields, moved to the Birmingham area. “Susan moved here about a year before I did and was immedi-

I wanted to find out more about it,” he said. Camp SAM is headquartered two blocks behind Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. However, the permanent campsite facility, Children’s Harbor, is on Lake Martin in Alexander City. Children’s Harbor donates the use of the campsite facility for Camp SAM. Before Camp SAM, children with cancer in Alabama couldn’t go to overnight camp because of chemotherapy or other medical treatments. Now, more than 400 children with cancer attend the camp each year while receiving the medical care they need. Camp SAM, Obert said, gives young cancer patients the kind of experience Obert said he tried to give patients at Children’s of Alabama. “They need a place and a time where they don’t have to worry about feeling different because their hair is falling out because of chemo. That’s what Camp SAM does. It’s a place where everyone is going through the same thing,” he said. “I think our job is to provide the best opportunities we can for these children during the brief time they are at camp.” Obert said he likes that Camp SAM addresses the whole family when it comes to dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis. “Camp SAM also has a sibling camp and a family camp, so it’s not just a program for the patients alone,” he said. “It’s an organization that really understands the complicated dynamic of fighting cancer and how that affects an entire family.” Camp SAM also offers programs for survivors of childhood cancer, Obert said. “They may have been pulled out of school a lot to get treatment, so they need help with things like learning to balance a checkbook or how to build a resume. It’s those kinds of life lessons that the survivors’ program tries to teach,” he said. Obert served a full four-year term on the Camp SAM junior board and stayed on for an additional year, which illustrates his commitment to the work being done at Camp SAM,

the organization’s development director said. “John has been such an incredible asset to Camp Smile-A-Mile,” Savannah Lanier said. “He has proven himself to be a leader on the junior board of directors.” Obert is the kind of person who works diligently for Camp SAM, Lanier said, but who does not seek recognition for his efforts. “John is an incredible force of nature who is always willing to step in to lend a hand,” Lanier said. “He often flies under the radar doing good deed after good deed, but the impact he makes at Camp Smile-A-Mile is very visible.” Obert said he is thankful to be involved in an organization that gives a lot of assistance and guidance to its junior board. “It’s so inspiring to see the top professionals in the state working right along with you to help these kids,” Obert said. Obert said he feels a responsibility to give back to the community because he knows what it is like to depend on the kindness of strangers. “After my parents divorced, my family went through some struggles and were fortunate enough that people in our community came together to help us, and that’s something I’ll never forget,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for people who were willing to help.” Obert said his mother, Martha Moran, continues to be an inspiration to him because of her generosity and thoughtfulness. “My mom has always taught me to be thankful for those that helped us when we were down and struggling and to give back every chance we had to help someone else,” he said. Obert said he’s also inspired to serve the community by Justin Truelow, who every year volunteers for a week as a counselor at Camp SAM. “If these successful people can take time out of their lives and away from their families to brighten the lives of the kids at Camp SAM, then the rest of us really have no excuse for not doing our part,” he said. ❖

ately super-involved in the whole Birmingham area. She’s also on the junior board of The Literacy Council,” Beale said. “She definitely motivates me to want to keep up with her.” Before she started her teaching career, Beale worked at Alabama Public Television and said she learned more about The Literacy Council through that job. “I worked with The Literacy Council there and really began to realize how dedicated the staff is. That made me want to volunteer, and when I started volunteering is when I realized how amazing it is that they do so much with so little manpower,” Beale said. Beale was still working as a volunteer with the organization when The Literacy Council decided to form a junior board. “It was about three years ago when they started the junior board, and so I jumped at the chance to

become more involved with what The Literacy Council is trying to do,” she said. Missy Burchart, The Literacy Council’s communications and development manager, said Beale “has been a tireless advocate” for the organization. “Virginia was one of the founding members of The Literacy Council’s junior board and immediately infused her enthusiasm and positive nature into our meeting and planning for events,” Burchart said. “She is a natural leader who works hard to make sure everything the junior board undertakes is a success.” Beale said she’s inspired to work hard for The Literacy Council by the countless stories of triumph that she hears from the staff and from volunteers who tutor adults in the literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. “The main reasons people will come to The Literacy Council is



Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 13

Spectrum Disorder. Mitchell’s Place is on Overton Road in Birmingham. Established in 2005, Mitchell’s Place is the vision of Nancy and Allen Meisler. The couple’s son, Mitchell, was diagnosed with autism at age 2, and they struggled to find appropriate services in the Birmingham area for him. After extensive research, including studying the Auburn University Autism Center, the Meislers helped fund the building of Mitchell’s Place. Now, Mitchell’s Place is a center where all services for the diagnosis and treatment of autism are under one roof. Mitchell’s Place is also a multidisciplinary resource center that serves children and adults with services in psychology, psychiatry, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy. The Mitchell’s Place Junior Council is a group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s whose goal is to increase awareness of autism and provide support for Mitchell’s Place. Patton, who graduated from Mountain Brook High School and the University of Alabama, said she became involved with the junior council through her job as a recruiter for Northwestern Mutual. “Someone we worked with had a son who had gone through the program at Mitchell’s Place, and one of our managing partners saw the impact it had on his life, and the company became a sponsor of the center,” Patton said. Patton said she thinks she was drawn to volunteering at Mitchell’s Place due to her grandmother’s influence. “I think that goes back to my grandmother and seeing the difference she and the other staff and volunteers made in the lives of the Magic Moments children,” she said. Patton said she also feels blessed that her company is a good civic partner in the community. “In the three years I’ve been

with the company, they have really instilled in us the idea that we should do all we can to help others,” Patton said. Patton’s efforts to champion the cause of Mitchell’s Place have not gone unnoticed, said Frederick Blackmon, the center’s director of development. “In her first meeting, she volunteered to represent Mitchell’s Place in a philanthropic competition, which demonstrates her commitment to Mitchell’s Place and our Junior Council,” Blackmon said. “We are thrilled to have Hayden on our Junior Council.” Patton and other members of the junior council are the keys to future achievements at Mitchell’s Place said Sandy Naramore, the center’s executive director. “Hayden is passionate about Mitchell’s Place and eager to assist the children and families who attend our programs,” Naramore said. “Mitchell’s Place is proud to have Hayden Patton and other young professionals who are driven to serve the community on our Junior Council.” Patton said she thinks many young professionals from the Over the Mountain area are driven to make a difference because of the importance placed on counting your blessings in their communities. “We’ve grown up in an area and in Over the Mountain schools where you were taught how lucky you are and that you should be grateful for all the opportunities you have,” she said. “We’re taught that you should use those opportunities, those blessings, to help other people.” Patton said she’s constantly inspired to champion Mitchell’s Place by the children and families she meets through her work with the center. “The most rewarding part has to be the relationships I have built,” she said. “Seeing that you are a part of something that is really making a difference, that is going to be able to give someone a better quality of life, is very inspiring.” Patton said there’s nothing wrong with simply writing a check to a nonprofit or charity organization to

support it but said she prefers a more hands-on approach to her philanthropic pursuits. “Doing something is better than doing nothing. If you don’t have time to volunteer, it’s great if you can help financially,” she said. “But I think it makes a bigger impact on you when you are actually part of the events, like the golf tournament we have to raise money for Mitchell’s Place.” While Patton said she is hardpressed to think of someone her age that doesn’t give back in some way or another, she said those who are looking to volunteer or serve on junior boards in the Birmingham metro area have plenty of options. “There are so many different causes,” she said. “There are things that help animals, there are organizations for children, for the elderly. There’s no shortage of organizations in our area that need help in their missions.” Patton said she thinks it is important that young professionals find organizations and causes that resonate deeply with them. “I really think it has to be something that you are passionate about for you to have the greatest impact,” she said. Choosing where she wanted to have the greatest impact, Patton said, was simple. “For me, finding the cause I wanted to work for was easy because I’ve always loved helping children because for the most part, they can’t help themselves,” she said. “I feel "No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers." it’s our duty as adults to take care of those that can’t take care of themselves yet.” Patton, who is also on the junior board at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, said she is determined to keep up her philanthropic work, no matter how her life mightTo: change inJonathan and Kim the future. From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 “I’m a single girl now and I FAX: 205-824-1246 don’t have kids of my own, so I Date: Oct. 2013 have a lot of time and energy I can devote to Mitchell’s Place and other This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for the nonprofits,” she said. “But I can’t October 17, 2013 issue. Please email or fax approval or changes to 824-1246. imagine volunteer work or community service not being a part of my life,” she said. ❖ Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone

because their children are starting to read and they can’t help,” she said. “That has to be so heartbreaking for those parents.” By teaching the parents to read, Beale said, she thinks The Literacy Council does an important job in helping end the cycle of illiteracy in families. “The kids who don’t have books at home, who are not read to at home are the ones we see struggling in the classroom,” she said. “It becomes a vicious cycle where the parents can’t read and then the kids can’t read either. If we can help the parents learn to read, then we have a better chance of stopping those cycles.” Beale said the reason it is important for everyone in the Birmingham metro area to be good readers is about more than making sure everyone can enjoy a good novel. “You really have to think about the impact of illiteracy on our economy,” Beale said. “How can we have

a thriving economy in Birmingham when thousands of people can’t read or write well enough to fill out a job application? Education is where it starts. I truly believe that’s the key to making this a better place for all of us.” And while she is motivated by that strong belief in the power of literacy, Beale said she knows if she weren’t involved with The Literacy Council, she would still be active in philanthropic endeavors in the Birmingham metro area. “I have always liked to have that component to my life,” Beale said. “Even as a student, the schools I went to encouraged us to give back, to do our part to help others. I learned that you don’t have to make these great, grand gestures to really make a difference. Sometimes, it is the small things that have the biggest impact.” Beale said her parents taught her about civic responsibility.

“We really also have to thank our teachers for making that part of the lessons we learned,” she said. As an English teacher, Beale said The Literacy Council was a natural choice for giving her a way to share her talents and passion to help others. “I advise other people to do the same thing--find something that really speaks to you, something you really want to change and devote yourself to that,” she said. Beale said the Birmingham metro area offers a myriad of opportunities for young philanthropists looking to make a contribution to their communities. “There are so many different organizations in our area and so many different ways to get involved,” she said. “I advise people, especially if they are new to the area, to ask around, ask your friends and co-workers and talk to people who are already involved in the organization and about why they like it.” ❖

Patton, From page 10

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Mardi Gras Merriment Beaux Arts Krewe Ball Set for Feb. 28

From left: Elizabeth Hargrove, Leacy Bromberg, Sellers Shook, Anne Smith and Caroline Donald. Photos special to the Journal

Carolyne Nix, Ginny Luckie, Morgan Crumbaugh, Annie Suggs and Kathryn McCollum.

Katharine Patton, Lelia Elizabeth Smith, Patricia Stutts, Caroline Drew and Elizabeth Corey.

Sara Frese, Mary Reagan Harvey, Mary Pat Damrich, Kathleen Patrick and Caroline Given.

Addison Sewell, Cile Hutchinson, Shelby Scott, Lillie Ratliff, Catherine Hughes and Evelyn Lewis.


hirty-five young women will be presented at the 47th Beaux Arts Krewe Ball on Feb. 28. The annual event at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium will have a traditional Mardi Gras theme. The presentees for this year’s event are Ann Popwell Anthony, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Brantley Anthony; Elizabeth Leacy Bromberg, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Marshall Bromberg; Elizabeth Douglass Corey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Douglass Corey; Morgan Prescott Crumbaugh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Chalmers Crumbaugh III; Mary Patricia Damrich, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Reynolds Ireland Jr. and Dr. David Brown Damrich; Caroline Carney Donald, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Marion Donald III; Caroline Addison Drew, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Livingston Drew; Sara Elizabeth Frese, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bernard Frese; Caroline Carter Given, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Perry Given Jr.; Alison Bradford Gorrie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Magnus James Gorrie; Lois Cecilia Hammet, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Buford Hammet; Elizabeth Pride Hargrove, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John William Hargrove; Mary Reagan Harvey, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jimmie Huling Harvey Jr.; Catherine Bowen Winifred Hughes, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph George Hughes;

Margaret Page, Lucy Sprain, Ali B. Gorrie, Helen Walker and Ann Anthony.

Jane Elizabeth Nechtman, Winston Powell and Addison Powell.

Lucile Cabaniss Hutchinson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Neal Spence Hutchinson; Evelyn Jennings Lewis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Hatfield Lewis; Virginia Evans Luckie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas George Luckie; Kathryn

Cook McCollum, daughter of Mrs. Tina McCollum; Jane Elizabeth Leatherbury Nechtman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Miles Williams and Dr. and Mrs. Carl Mandel Nechtman Jr.; Carolyne Foster Nix, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Dean Nix; Margaret Ruffner White Page, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gene Ruffner Page Jr.; Kathleen Mims Patrick, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Benjamin Patrick; Katharine Forrester Patton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald White Patton; Mary Addison Powell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Gray Powell III; Winston Ryding Powell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Gray Powell III; Lillian Sloss Ratliff, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas Ratliff III; Shelby Marie Scott, daughter of Mrs. Melissa Fick Scott and Mr. Drayton Trucks Scott Jr.; Virginia Addison Sewell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Hill Sewell; Elizabeth Sellers Shook, daughter of Mrs. Kathryn Donald Shook and the late Mr. Henry Lindstrom Shook; Anne Franklin Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bridges Morton; Lelia Elizabeth Leftwich Smith, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John Roger Smith; Lucy Josephine Sprain, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Henry Sprain Jr.; Patricia Lawrence Stutts, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Gillis Stutts; Dorothy Ann Suggs, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Patrick Suggs; and Helen Lea Walker, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Orr Walker and Ms. Joni Brown Walker. ❖

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 15



From left: Hannah Kahn, Abby Rose, Skye McCammon, Evelyn Lewis and Brantley Peddy. Journal photos by Emil Wald

Dannielle DuBose, Laura Krannich, Anwhitney Glisson, Mary Kathryn Fletcher and Leah Beard.

Poinsettia Ball, From page 1

sored by the Poinsettia Men’s Club and coordinated by Sarah Frances Shotts and Leigh Ann Yeilding. Dinner attendees included Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Angelo, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Brown, Joshua Bruce, Mrs. Jack Bruce, Mrs. Matthew Bryan, Mr. and Mrs. John Cade Jr., Mr. and Mrs. John Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Griffin, Mr. and Mrs. David Hendrickson, Mr. and Mrs. James Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Marino and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Roden. Others enjoying the dinner were Mr. and Mrs. James Kennemer, David Shelby, Sarah Frances Shotts, Dr. and Mrs. Chandler Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Urrutia, Mr. and Mrs. Foster Yeilding, Gaines Yeilding, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Yeilding and Mr. and Mrs. Tim York. Mary Angelo served as Ball Board president. Susan Vawter was Ball chairman, and Sherry more photos Bohorfoush was Ball Board social secretary. Men’s Club president was John D. Cade. Other Ball Board members were Celia Anthony, Sarah Bryan, Ruby Cade, Elizabeth Ferguson, Liz Phillips-Guest, Nancy Kennedy, Frances McAleer, Denise Oliver and Tammy Towns. Committee members included Una Ray Barnett, Amy Barr, Susie Helton, Cynthia Looney, Allison Miller, Patti Pierce and Lisa Stevenson. Debutantes presented were Leah Olivia Beard, Rebecca Leann Bell, Meredith Benson Botes, Emily Elizabeth Burleson, Stephanie Spear Burrus, Sara Emily Carlton, Catherine MacKenzie Cullen, Danielle Marie DuBose, Megan Roxanne Early, Mary Kathryn Fletcher, Laura Katherine Freeman, Anwhitney Snowden Glisson, Katie Elizabeth Gould, Caitlin Morgan Hudson, Allyson Lang Jennings, Kirsten Rachel Julian, Hannah Kaufman Kahn, Laura Ann Krannich, Evelyn Jennings Lewis, Lauren Elizabeth Marino, Schuyler Grace McCammon, Margaret Elizabeth

Margaret Murphy, Britney Oliver, Elizabeth McDaniel and Lauren Marino.

Jessie Walls, Anne Grace Schmidtke, Ariel Reynolds and Kendall Schilling.



Stephanie Burrus, Mary Kathryn Woods, Cate Cullen and Michelle Pierce.

McDaniel, Margaret Claire Murphy, Britney Woods Oliver, Michelle Kathleen Pierce, Brantley Elizabeth Peddy, Ariel Michelle Reynolds, Abigail Caroline Rose, Kendall Leigh Schilling, Anne Grace Schmidtke, Julia Hannah Vawter, Kathryn Jessica Walls and Mary Kathryn Woods. Lauren Marino was voted by the debutantes as president of the 2013 class and was presented to Nancy Kennedy, president of the Ballet Women’s Committee. Don Mosley of Sounds of Birmingham was master of ceremonies for the evening. After the presentation to music by harpist Judy Hicks, the traditional father-daughter waltz began. Guests enjoyed dancing to the music of Az-Izz during the remainder of the evening. ❖

Katie Gould, Caitlin Hudson and Emily Burleson.

Rebecca Bell, Meredith Botes, Ally Jennings and Hannah Vawter.

16 • Thursday, January 23, 2014


Bright Ideas


Illuminations Ball, Display Benefit Children’s of Alabama

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Hundreds of people recently gathered at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center for an illuminating evening aimed at brightening the lives of sick children. Presented by Protective Life Corp. on Nov. 15, the 12th annual Illuminations Ball raised more than $300,000 for Children’s of Alabama. The annual event drew more than 700 people, event organizers said. The evening included a seated dinner and holiday dessert stations. Guests danced to live music by Big Daddy’s New Band.We will be serving scotch The 2013 Illuminations Ball also beerby from included live and silentand auctions C a local King Benefit Auctions. brewery. We will also be News anchor Beth Shelburne of featuring a trunk shoW WBRC Fox 6 TV was mistress of ceremonies. by shalla Wista studios. The decor for the event was by so ladies, bring your husInteriorscapes, Inc. The presenting bandsLife and help them pick sponsors were Protective Corp., HOAR Construction, Bank Valentine's Dr. Mike Chen and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Bierle at the 12th annual outRegions the perfect and Solution Infusion Therapy. Illuminations Ball, which raised more than $300,000 for Children’s of present Alabama. Photo special to the Journal Members of the auction commit-for you! tee were Tracy Pharo, Fiona Watts, lobbies to see the Christmas trees and designed by individuals, companies Heather Lebensburger, Katherine and organizations from throughout the holiday décor. The viewing of the Brown and Renee Young. trees was free and open to the public. Birmingham area. In conjunction with the ball, the The display was also an opportunity Families from across the state Illuminations Tree display was open to gain inspiration and holiday ideas were invited to visit the display in to the public Nov. 4-Dec. 5. The from the region’s top designers. ❖ the Children’s Russell and McWane display included 40 spectacular trees

Angel Tree Aid Greystone Ladies Club Event Supports Children

Front, from left: Wilma Thompson, Bonika Wilson, Janie Dollar and Carolyn Haynes. Second row: Susan DuBose, Julie Kim, Sherry Best and Carole Marks. Third row: Therese Haselden, Denise Tassone and Sue Nuby. Fourth row: Alicia Cuevas, Ann Layne, Hollis Traylor and Susie Gaston. Fifth row: Ranea Breen, Susie Hammer, Barbara Brickner and Michelle Wilder. Back row: Kathy Frey. Photo special to the Journal

Board members of the Greystone Ladies Club gathered for a social event to benefit impoverished children during the holidays. The club’s annual Christmas social was held at the home of Gabe and Suzette Davie. The event was organized by Carolyn Haynes, the club’s social vice president. Those attending brought gifts for the Angel Tree to help give children in need presents at Christmas. They also brought diapers and baby wipes to donate to the Adullum House, a home in Wetumpka for children of mothers who are in prison. Club members also made donations to the Hands and Feet Project to help with supplies for orphanages in Haiti. The club used the Christmas social to raise money for Grace Ukraine, an organization founded by hostess Suzette Davie. The organization provides a monthly supply of diapers and baby wipes to 150 children living in special needs orphanages in Ukraine. Those attending included Wilma Thompson, Bonika Wilson, Janie Dollar, Susan DuBose, Julie Kim, Sherry Best, Carole Marks, Therese Haselden, Denise Tassone, Sue Nuby, Alicia Cuevas, Ann Layne, Hollis Traylor, Susie Gaston, Ranea Breen Susie Hammer, Barbara Brickner, Michelle Wilder and Kathy Frey. ❖

Finish the Fight

Iron Bowl Party Benefits Cancer Research

From left: Jimmy and Claire Puckett and Ellen and Greg Melville. Photo special to the Journal

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 17



Ted’s Garage had a packed house in November for the ninth annual Finish the Fight Iron Bowl Tailgate Party. Presented by Cowin & Co., the event benefits the Robert E. Reed Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Foundation. The crowd gathered for the event enjoyed appetizers from Shindigs Catering and a variety of tailgate food from Ezell’s, Michael’s Steakhouse, La Paz, G-Dogs and Golden Rule provided by CM Foodservices. T.U.B., The UnKnamed Band, provided music throughout the evening. Serving as honorary chairmen of the event were Lessley and Bob Hynson from Laurel, Miss. Lessley is a gastrointestinal cancer survivor and is under the care of Dr. Martin J. Heslin, the director of the Reed Foundation. The Reed Foundation was formed in 2002 after Robert Reed lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. The foundation’s efforts provide funding to support gastrointestinal cancer research and patient care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. ❖

Ends Sat., Jan. 25

Cornerstone Christmas Party

Restaurant Hosts Fundraiser for School

More than 100 guests turned out to support a nonprofit school and a new restaurant in Mountain Brook. The Cornerstone Christmas Party at Urban Cookhouse’s new Crestline location raised money for Cornerstone School, a Christian school in Woodlawn serving students in K4 through the eighth grade. The December event included live music, beverages and a full tasting menu featuring the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Those attending dined on hot cheddar pasta, urban cowboy sandwiches, broccoli salad and the restaurant’s well-known orange rolls. Event organizers said all proceeds from the event will go to Cornerstone School. Urban Cookhouse also has locations in downtown Homewood and at The Summit. Those attending the party included Annie Lou Holton, Tom Holton, Hannah Slamen, Canon Slamen, India Bailey, Harrison Irons, Sarah Pikal, Jan Scott Farmer, Ellen Davis, Katherine Robertson, Ryan Robertson, Megan Trolard, Oliver Trolard, Ron Trolard and Tommy Mayfield. ❖

Hannah Slamen and Canon Slamen.

Trunk Show

From left: India Bailey, Harrison Ironsn and Sarah Pikal.

Photos special to the Journal

To: From: Date:


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This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Journa Jan. 23 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

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

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

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Jolly O’Holly

Garden Club Celebrates the Season

social The Sprig O’Holly Garden Club celebrated the holiday season with its annual Christmas luncheon on Dec. 14 at Vestavia Country Club. Those who attended joined in singing familiar carols to the piano accompaniment of Martha Chism.

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Luncheon tables at the club held sparkling trees surrounded by holly. Each place setting was marked with a miniature snow globe as a memento of the event, which was chaired by Helen Smalley. Members joining in on the holiday fun were Jean Beatty, Virginia Chappelle, Martha Chism, Sara Dobb, Marilyn Gross, Faye Hallman, Tallulah Hargrove, Jan McElroy, Lovie Montgomery, Betty Nunis, Adrienne O’Brien, Barbara Randle, Helen Smalley, Cille Spader, Janet Thomas, Betty Weeks, Elaine Wood and Janis Zeanah. Sprig O’Holly Garden Club rang in the New Year with a program by columnist John Archibald on Jan. 14 at the Vestavia Hills home of Cille Spader. Co-hostesses for the January


From left: Betty Nunis, Marilyn Gross and Sarah Dodd.

luncheon meeting were Barbara Randle and Janis Zeanah.

Refined Revelry

Gaieties Club Hosts Black Swan Ball The Gaieties Club, now in its 65th year, celebrated the holiday season with the Black Swan Ball. The dinner dance was held at the Country Club of Birmingham. For the occasion, Roger Logan of Backstage Florists created a sophisticated scene of black, silver and white. Guests carried out the theme by wearing formal attire in similar colors. Greeting guests were President Jackie MacClary with Bruce; Ball Chairman Becky Bates with David; Treasurer Sandra Oden with Terry; Assistant Treasurer Bette Owen with Crawford; and Parliamentarian Brownie Evans with Barry. After enjoying cocktails in the living room, guests proceeded to the East Room, which featured silhouettes of black swans, white orchids and silver and white branches that sparkled with miniature white lights Members dined on mixed green salad with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, candied cashews and crumbled goat cheese and on filet mignon, lump crab cakes, asparagus and cheese soufflé potatoes and a trio of mini pastries. The club also introduced new members at the Black Swan Ball. The new members attending were Julie Carmichael with Doug, Kim Day with Corbie, Betsy Gresham with Bill, Barbara Klyce with Bobby and

Photo special to the Journal

Adrienne O’Brien is president of the garden club. ❖

Katharine Patton with Donnie. After dinner, members and guests danced the night away to classic songs. Among those attending were Lucy and Dan Allison, Ann and John Baker, Barbara and Win Baird, Becky and David Bates, Leslie and Rob Black, Julie and Doug Carmichael, Mary Elizabeth and Bud Conaway, Margie and Sid Davis, June and John Eagan, Brownie and Barry Evans, Judy and John Feagin and Marjorie Forney and John Schoppert. Also spotted at the event were Gerry and James Gillespy, Beverly and John Goff, Betsy and Bill Gresham, June Henderson and Malta Narramore, Janie and Jimbo Henderson, Anne and Barrett Hicks, Joanie and Carey Hollinsworth, Patricia Johnson and Glenn Slye, Linda Sue and Sam Johnson, Susie and Eddie Kissel, Barbara and Bobby Klyce, Nancy and Lamar Latimer and Marcia and Ken Little. Other members and guests at the Black Swan Ball were Jackie and Bruce MacClary, Anne Martin and Jim Hawk, Ann and Dale Massey, Leonora McCalley, Dana and Pete McCarn, Edith and Fred Medley, Betsy and Harry Miller, Lovie and John Montgomery, Jane Morris, Sandra and Terry Oden, Bette and Crawford Owen, Katharine and Donnie Patton, Kathleen and George Petznik, Dorothy and Bryan Ratliff, Joyce Ratliff and Bayard Tynes, Margaret and Tommy Ritchie, Ann and Harris Saunders and Bethy and Roland Short. Also attending were Catherine and Stewart Smith, Mary and Terrell Spencer, Mary Steiner, Cindy and Andy Strickland, Roz and Jim Stroud, Katie and Charlie Terry, Betty and Albert Tully, Jeanie and Lee Walthall, Suzanne and Mike Wald, Mary Elizabeth and Jim Waitzman, Margaret and Bill Whitaker, Doris and Joe McCracken, Cheryl and Shorty Williams and Janie and Walter Wilson. ❖

From left: David and Becky Bates, Bruce and Jackie MacClary and Janie and Jimbo Henderson. Photo special to the Journal

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 19



Christmas Past

A Children’s Consignment


Ladies Golf Association Members Share Holiday Memories

The theme for the annual Christmas party for the Ladies Golf Association of Vestavia Country Club was “Oldfashioned Christmas” and took those attending on a trip down memory lane as they shared their favorite Christmas memories. The party on Dec. 11 included a seated luncheon and the singing of Christmas carols with member Susan Murphy on the piano. Tables at the club were decorated with tall, golden cylindrical Christmas trees surrounded by colorful felt reindeer antlers which also served as favors for the guests. Jean King gave the invocation before members dined on grilled

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salmon filet, creamed potatoes, steamed fresh asparagus and chocolate or pumpkin roulade. As part of the theme, women at each table shared a favorite memory with the group. Members donned the reindeer books, beauty and hair treatments and more. Those attending enjoyed food, wine, fun and fellowship and had their pictures taken in a photo booth. “V,” the Vulcan Park and Museum’s mascot, was on hand to pose for pho-

more photos at

antler favors to pose for light-hearted photos. To: Bettie Davenport entertained those attendFrom: ing with her spoof of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” ❖



tos with guests. The mission of The Women’s Network is to cultivate, connect, inspire and support a diverse group of Birmingham-area women who make outstanding contributions to their professions and communities. ❖

This is your AD prOOF from the Over The MOunTAin JOurnAl fo September 5, 2013 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-12

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.

Women’s Network Event Raises Money for Charities

The Women’s Network recently hosted its Party with a Purpose at a Birmingham area landmark. The event at Vulcan Park and Museum raised more than $3,000 for two local charities. Proceeds will help the Vulcan Park and Museum and the YWCA of Central Alabama. The event included a silent auction that gave members the opportunity to win gifts donated by members and local businesses. Featured items included diamond rings, signed

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20 • Thursday, January 23, 2014



Changing the Heart of Their Home Four-month Renovation Creates Family-friendly Kitchen Story by Keysha Drexel • Photos by Lee Walls Jr.

Just as it probably was 60 years ago, the heart of a house in the 1700 block of Windsor Boulevard in Homewood is its kitchen. That’s where Jason and Natalie Ferguson feed their young daughters breakfast and where they sit together to catch up on the events of their day. But enjoying the space wasn’t always this easy, the couple said. After six decades of hosting family dinners, holiday celebrations and the small moments that make everyday life special, the kitchen of the 1954 house was looking a little heartbroken. “The kitchen was really bad. It needed so much work,” Natalie said. And work it got. The Fergusons just finished a fourth-month renovation of their kitchen, which included taking out a wall and peeling off five layers of linoleum flooring. Jason bought the house before he and Natalie were married after his software development job brought him to the Birmingham metro area from his native Atlanta. “I knew it was a fixer-upper, and I loved the location. I either work from home or on the road, so I could have lived anywhere, but I liked Homewood,” Jason said. Natalie moved from her native Delaware to the Birmingham area about nine years ago to pursue a master’s degree in English at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But I never finished graduate school,” she said, laughing. “Instead, I got a physical therapist assistant’s degree from Jeff State. That seems a little more practical in today’s world than a master’s degree in English.” Jason and Natalie moved into the house almost six years ago and were married in August 2010. They welcomed their first child, Cecily, two and half years ago. Their second daughter, Marcella, was born six months ago. “I guess it sounds kind of crazy to start a major kitchen renovation when you’re pregnant, but we wanted the kitchen to be finished by the time our second daughter was born,” Natalie said. Before the kitchen renovation, the couple had tackled one major project in the house each year, Jason said. “My first water bill was $400, and that’s when we discovered the water leaks,” he said. “There are a lot of surprises when you buy an older house, but I knew that I could fix it up myself or contract out the parts I couldn’t do myself.” The couple also had a new roof put on the house, replaced the heating and cooling system and called in a plumber to take care of the leaky pipes. “Then we decided that we had to do something about the kitchen. It couldn’t wait any longer,” Natalie said. Natalie said as the cook in the family,

renovating the kitchen was something she wanted to do right away after the couple settled into the house. “But we did it the right way and set a budget and saved up so we didn’t have to finance anything,” she said. Natalie said the kitchen renovation was important to her because she wants her daughters to have the same kind of home experience she had growing up in Delaware. “I come from a big Italian family, and life was completely centered around the kitchen,” she said. “My parents and grandparents always had something cooking on the stove, and it is a place that holds a lot of good memories. I want that for my children, too.” Jason said his favorite part of the kitchen renovation project was probably its beginning, which included taking out a wall that divided the kitchen from a small dining area. “I did the demolition myself, and that was pretty satisfying,” Jason said. “But you quickly learn that the best part of demolition is those first 10 minutes when you’re tearing everything down. The rest of the time is spent hauling stuff out to the street.” And while the couple could handle the tearing-down part of the renovation, they knew they needed help when it came to the next phase of the project. “Neither one of us really has an eye for design, so we went to Kathy (Owens) of Kathy’s Designer Kitchens,” Jason said. “We saw her ads in the paper and her shop happened to be across the street from where I was having lunch one day, so I decided to stop in and see about getting some professional help with our kitchen.” The couple also enlisted the help of builder Elliot Pike of ELM Construction on Rocky Ridge Road in Vestavia Hills. “Elliot was phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for a better contractor, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with how everything turned out in the kitchen,” Jason said.

The couple started the renovation project in January 2013. After taking out the wall dividing the kitchen and dining areas, the first part of the kitchen renovation involved switching the electric appliances to ones that run on natural gas. “That wasn’t a visual improvement part of the project, but it was something that was important to me,” Natalie said. “I had never cooked on an electric range before we moved in here, and I really, really missed cooking with gas.” Next, the couple addressed the kitchen cabinets. “They were in sad, sad shape,” Natalie said. “They were the original cabinets, and

Natalie and Jason Ferguson play with their daughters, Cecily, left, and Marcella in their Homewood home. With the help of Kathy’s Designer Kitchens and ELM Construction, the kitchen was transformed with new cabinets, countertops and flooring.

we know that for sure because we found a stamp with ‘April 1954’ on it on the inside of one of the cabinet doors.” With the advice of Owens and Pike, the couple came up with a plan to reconfigure the newly expanded kitchen space to give Natalie plenty of room to whip up favorite family recipes. But while all the renovation work was being done, Natalie found herself trying to cook the family’s meals out of a spare bedroom that had been temporarily con-

The kitchen renovation included upgrading the appliances and adding new lighting. To see more photos of the Ferguson kitchen go to otmj.com.

verted into a makeshift kitchen. “We put up some shelving in one of the bedrooms and moved the kitchen table back there while the major work was being done in the kitchen,” she said. “I had a hotplate and a crockpot back there, and that was pretty much it. I really learned to love that crockpot and got a lot of great recipes from my friends.” The couple also ate out a lot during the months the kitchen was being redone, Jason said. “That’s one thing you don’t really think about when you’re budgeting for a kitchen makeover, but I would advise people to include that in the project’s costs,” he said. “We did a lot of looking around to see which

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 21



local restaurants had the best dinner deals for families, and all I can say is thank goodness for coupon books and thank you Urban Cookhouse in Homewood.” The home’s dining room area already had hardwood floors, and Natalie said she hoped with each layer of linoleum that was lifted from the kitchen, she would see the same hardwoods underneath. “But nope, that didn’t happen. Under the linoleum, there was just more linoleum,” she said. “But we knew we wanted to extend the hardwoods into the kitchen to tie the whole space together. The subcontractor did a wonderful job matching the new hardwood

floors in the kitchen to the existing hardwoods in the dining room and in the living room.” When it came to choosing the material for their countertops, Jason said the couple compromised on what they originally envisioned for something that fit better with their budget. “I liked the idea of a solid surface countertop, and I liked the idea of some of the manmade materials, but just like in any home renovation project, we found that there were things that we could use instead to save some money,” he said. “I think the granite countertops worked out beautifully in the kitchen.” The granite countertops pick up the neutral color palette that Owens helped the couple choose to replace the bright red walls in the kitchen. The couple stayed with the neutral and natural theme by choosing a warm off-white stone backsplash installed in a brick pattern. And yes, even the kitchen sink was replaced in the Ferguson home. The single sink was replaced with a stainless steel double sink, complete with a new faucet. A new stainless steel dishwasher replaced the older white model the couple inherited as the second owners of the home, and now Natalie has a stainless steel gas range, oven and microwave to use when making the family’s meals. “It’s so much better than that little hotplate,” she said, laughing. The new, open kitchen is illuminated by plenty of recessed lighting and accented with red pendant lights over the sink and a simple, neutral

chandelier over the dining room table. “We could have never pulled this all together without Kathy’s help,” Natalie said. “She guided us through the whole process when we didn’t even have a clue as to where to start.” In May of last year, the major renovations in the kitchen were complete, and Natalie rejoiced at being able to cook a meal for her family in their new and improved kitchen. “The first thing I did was make us eggs for breakfast,” she said. “I was so excited to have the kitchen finished and to be able to get my ‘me time’ back, because that’s what cooking is to me in a lot of ways. It’s nice to be able to have Jason taking care of the kids right here in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner for us.” And while the construction part of the project was finished last spring, Natalie and Jason said they took their time choosing the other elements for their newly renovated kitchen. “We finally picked out a table and the stools for the counter in December,” Natalie said. “We didn’t want to rush and just go out and buy something just to fill the space. We took our time and really looked at what would stand the test of time for us.” Natalie said she thinks her new kitchen will also stand the test of time well and be the setting for many happy family memories. “I’m already thinking about how great it will be to have the girls’ birthday parties in the new kitchen,” she said. “Cecily already helps me cook a little, and I’m really looking forward to getting a lot of use out of the

kitchen cooking with my daughters as they grow up.” Now that their kitchen renovation is complete, the couple said they will tackle the next home improvement project on their list--to add an office in the basement for Jason. And while Jason admitted the couple could have moved to a newer house and avoided a lot of home renovations, he said they have taken the attitude of some of his parents’ friends who live in England. “They had kids who lived in a 200-year-old former post office--talk about an old house,” Jason said. “But they have a different attitude about it over there and view themselves as the caretakers of the house while they live there. I like that idea.” ❖

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22 • Thursday, January 23, 2014

Everything’s a “Blast From the Past” at




From page 1

to the attention of Kids Wish Network, the international charitable organization sprang into action to give the Vestavia Hills Elementary West student a complete bedroom Where makeover. “I think it has been an incredible nothing way to show Zoe that even when changes something bad happens, something but the good can come out of it,” Zenobia, is a Vestavia Hills city schools hairstyles! who employee, said. Last month, Kids Wish Network Circa 1978 teamed up with local companies to redo the room Zoe shares with her 6-year-old sister, Zaria, from top to bottom in the theme of her dreams. 2700 19th Place South • Homewood • 871-9779 Tue.-Fri. 10:30-5:30 • Sat. 11:00-4:30 With the help of Lacey Carroll Interiors in Hoover, the entire room was remodeled in one weekend and decorated with lots of pink, butterflies and peace symbols--Zoe’s favorites. “It’s amazing what they did in just a few days,” Zenobia said. “It was a complete surprise.” Construction crews started the renovation project on a Friday and worked through the weekend painting the room, wiring it for new lighting and installing crown molding. “They ripped up the carpet and put hardwood floors down--even in the closet,” Keith said. New furniture, including two new beds and a desk, was delivered, ia and everything was in place by that Monday for a big reveal when Zoe er The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646, fax 205-824-1246 arrived home from school. This is your aD prOOF from the Over The MOunTain JOurnal for the “The whole experience was just so much fun,” Lacey Carroll, lead Jan. 23, 2014 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. designer, said. “Zoe loved it, and you could tell she was just so excited. I please make sure all information isReflect correct, think the best part of this room makeover was that Zoe and her sister, who Your Own including address and phone number! 1831 29th Ave. S. • Homewood, AL 35209 had previously shared everything, Personal now each have their own space in the 205-871-9880 • Kathy Owens, CKD, President Style room.” 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, Zoe said she was thrilled with your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. the new beds and how the room was decorated. Thank you for your prompt attention. “I love all of it, but I really love to write at my new desk,” she said. Infusing hope and improving the quality of life for children who are experiencing life-altering situations is the aim of the Kids Wish Network, said Anna Lanzatella, executive director. “There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to put a smile on the face of a child who is struggling,” Lanzatella said. Zoe’s struggle, her parents said, seemed to begin almost overnight. “One day, she was the active, energetic kid who seemed very healthy, and the next day, she’s being rushed to the hospital,” Zenobia said. As Zoe’s headaches grew more frequent and severe, the couple also began to notice other symptoms. “She was thirsty a lot and going

Kathy’s Designer Kitchens, Inc.

Zoe Forman’s room makeover included adding items to reflect some of her favorite things--butterflies, peace symbols and all things pink. The Foreman family enjoys a moment together in their Hoover home. From left: Zenobia, Keith, Zaria, Zoe and Zahmon Foreman. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

to the bathroom a lot, too, so we took her to her regular pediatrician,” Keith said. “They tested her blood sugar and it was 327, and they told me to take her to Children’s (of Alabama) right then. It was pretty scary.” Zoe was hospitalized for about a week while doctors tried to stabilize her blood sugar.

‘The whole experience (room makeover) was just so much fun. Zoe loved it, and you could tell she was just so excited.’ Lacey Carroll, lead designer

“It was a heartbreaking diagnosis to hear because I know this is something that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life,” Zenobia said. “No one wants their child to live under that cloud.” Keith said he knew firsthand what the diagnosis meant for his daughter. “I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, and it was almost the same thing as with Zoe. I wasn’t overweight, but I had a very stressful job,” he said. “When the doctor told us about Zoe, I cried and my wife cried because we knew what it meant for her.” Zenobia said when Zoe’s symptoms first appeared, she didn’t want to


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think it could be diabetes. “I guess I was in denial, and I didn’t want her to suffer,” she said. “But once we got the diagnosis, we immediately started learning everything we could to make sure Zoe could make this transition.” And while it has been a major transition for Zoe to learn to monitor what she eats, to check her blood sugar and to take insulin injections, her family said she has remained hopeful and upbeat. “She’s taken it all like a little trouper,” Zenobia said. “She’s learning to control what she eats and to check her sugar levels. She still won’t give herself the injections, but it’s something we’re working on because we know it’s important that she knows the proper way to take care of herself if she’s not with us.” The diagnosis means the whole family--including Zoe’s older brother, 12-year-old Zahmon, is involved in making healthy food choices, Zenobia said. “Zahmon knows to ask mom or dad first if Zoe asks for a snack, and we’re all learning to eat better,” she said. “We all work together on this as a family.” Zoe said she’s glad to have the support of her whole family and is thankful to Kids Wish Network for giving her the room of her dreams. “I was very surprised they did that. I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I think it was a very nice thing to do.” Along with Lacey Carroll Interiors, others working on the room makeover were Standard Furniture Manufacturing Company, Divatex, Bellacor, Country Curtains, Stanley Furniture Company, Royal Bedding, Seascape and Bedzzz Express. For more information on Kids Wish Network, visit kidswishnetwork. org. ❖



Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 23

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

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

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24 • Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weddings & Engagements

By Donna Cornelius

Jenna and Graham turn their attention away from artwork to each other—but they were glad their wedding guests could wander through galleries at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Photos


Journal features writer

s a Major League Baseball pitcher, Graham Godfrey probably isn’t fond of the phrase “hitting one out of the park.” But that’s just what he and his fiancée, Jenna Cyrill, managed to do when they planned their Nov. 16, 2013 wedding. From the big decisions to the finer touches, the couple created a memorable event that combined sophistication, liveliness and fun. Jenna and Godfrey chose a venue with an atmosphere that’s decidedly different from a sports arena. “I’m not from Birmingham, so I really had to do my homework,” Jenna said. “I started Googling and found out you could have weddings at the Birmingham Museum of Art.” The couple chose to have both the ceremony and the reception at the museum for several reasons, Jenna said. “First, we love the metropolitan energy of the museum and knew it would be a perfect palette,” she said. “You can go modern and contemporary if you want to.” Although food, drink and flash photography aren’t allowed outside certain areas of the museum, wedding guests can visit galleries by prior arrangement. “We thought it was so cool that our guests were able to tour the galleries throughout the evening if they wanted,” Jenna said. “Also, about 90 percent of our guests were from out of town and were unfamiliar with the city. Having the ceremony and the reception at the same place meant they didn’t have to drive from one place to another. And most of them stayed nearby at the Westin, my favorite hotel, and we ran shuttles from there to the museum.” Besides the ambiance and the location, the couple also liked another aspect of choosing that particular venue. Although some fees pay for specific services, such as catering and security, “You’re also giving a donation to the arts,” Jenna said. Although they chose one of Birmingham’s most well-known places for their wedding, neither Jenna nor Graham is a Magic City native. She’s from Spartanburg, S.C., while her husband’s hometown is Houston. They met in 2006 when both were student athletes at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. Graham was there on a baseball scholarship, while Jenna had earned a volleyball scholarship. “All the athletes always hung out together in big groups,” Jenna said. “I first met Graham at a baseball party, and we became fast friends. We never dated romantically in college—we stayed strictly in the friend zone.” The two stayed in touch, she said, and reconnected in 2011. By that time, Graham was with the Oakland A’s, while Jenna was working in Philadelphia. “I got a text from Graham saying that the A’s were coming to town to play the Philadelphia Phillies and that he wanted us to catch up while he was in town,” she said. They not only caught up with each other but discovered that the friendship had blossomed into a mutual attraction. “Over the next year, I flew out to the West Coast every other week to see him,” Jenna said. After Graham had graduated from high school, his parents moved to Birmingham. “He made this his home base,” she said. “In October 2012, I left my job in Philadelphia and moved to Birmingham to be with Graham.” The couple got engaged soon after that, on Dec. 7, 2012. “It was a crazy day for a few reasons,” Jenna said. “The first thing that morning, Graham got a call from his agent saying he’d been traded from the A’s to the Boston Red Sox. We picked up his mom and headed straight to the mall to stock up on Red Sox gear and finish our Christmas shopping.” What Jenna didn’t know was that Graham had another stop to make: to pick up her engagement ring. Later that night at their house, Graham challenged Jenna to a game of pool. “We love playing pool together, so it became our little thing to unwind from the day,” she said. “I went to change my clothes, and when I got back, Graham had lit a bunch of candles around the room and was playing Adele’s ‘One and Only.’” In search of the cue ball to start the game, Jenna found it— and something else—in one of the pool table pockets. “I pulled out a mahogany ring box and found an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful diamond ring,” she said. His proposal got an enthusiastic yes, Jenna said. The round-cut colorless diamond with a prong setting and


special to the Journal by Carnaggio’s Photography

A Perfect Palette Couple Chooses Museum for a Creative Wedding Backdrop

halo of diamonds is “perfection,” she said. And it was even more special because Graham designed it himself with Diamonds Direct, she added. Graham said he wanted “something that represented Jenna: simple, timeless and breathtaking.” While he knew what he wanted the ring to look like, choosing the diamond was harder, he said. “I couldn’t have done it without the assistance of Diamonds Direct,” he said. “When I saw this particular diamond, I knew immediately that this was the one.” Jenna also knew she’d found the perfect wedding dress almost right away. She frequently does wedding gown modeling, she said, and thus had seen and worn many different styles. At the White Room in Cahaba Heights, she was trying on dresses when Graham’s sister, Brigham Godfrey, pulled out an Ines Di Santo mermaid-style gown with a low back and crystalembellished bodice. “I grew up in an Italian family, so I wanted an Italian designer,” Jenna said. “Ines is known for her elaborate gowns, and her design fit me perfectly.” She added a vintage-look veil, four-inch silver stiletto heels and a pair of Maria Elena crystal drop earrings with “something blue” crystal details, she said. At the ceremony, the groom had an item that combined Jenna’s roots with the couple’s new ones. “A tradition of Italian folklore, a nod to my family, included having Graham carry a small piece of iron to ward off evil spirits,” Jenna said. “Combining this tradition with our local

Birmingham culture, we decided it would be neat for him to have a Vulcan charm in his pocket on our wedding day.” Their wedding planner, designer and florist was Chris Confero, Jenna said. “He’s a creative genius,” she said. “He incorporated the insignia from our invitations into every detail of the wedding, from the ceremony backdrop to the cake to the monogrammed decal on the dance floor.” She especially loved a “light wall,” created by strings of lights hung from a massive glass wall in the reception area, she said. “One of my very favorite details of the entire wedding was our ceremony music selections,” Jenna said. “We’re not a traditional couple, so we didn’t want traditional music.” Joyce Terry’s Music Excursions, which includes two violins and a piano, played a rendition of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” as family members and the attendants walked down the aisle and Coldplay’s “Paradise” for the bridal processional. “We also included Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ for the recessional,” Jenna said. Graham said he didn’t have many special requests about the ceremony since the planning time hit during baseball season. “However, I was in charge of the music,” he said. “My only request was to make our reception a nonstop dance party without the typical wedding songs.” DJ Coco, whom they chose to provide the reception music, “did not let us down,” Graham said. “He had everyone on the dance floor, and the party didn’t stop. In fact, most people commented on how much fun the reception was because the music was so good.” The couple also agreed that the food served at the reception would get a high priority. “Graham and I love all kinds of food, so we knew we couldn’t narrow our menu down to one specific cuisine,” Jenna said. “Our caterers, A Social Affair, were wonderful and accommodating.” Food stations offered a wide variety of choices, she said, from shrimp and grits, a Charleston staple, to an Italian favorite, Ragu Alla Bolognese. Barb Sullivan of Barb’s Cakes made the five-tiered, French vanilla-almond wedding cake. “The coolest thing about the cake was that the top and bottom layers replicated the bodice of my dress,” Jenna said. More sweets came from Pastry Arts in Birmingham’s signature baby bites. The round, bite-sized cakes were decorated to look like baseballs, Jenna said. Other vendors for Jenna and Graham’s wedding included photographer Frank Carnaggio and his assistant, Nicole Muro; Amberly Shelton Paperie for the invitations and stationery; Bridesmaids Inc. for the bridesmaids’ dresses; Renaissance for the flower girl’s dress; Mr. Burch Formal Ware for the tuxedos and tiebar.com for the groom and groomsmen’s ties; and Melissa Moore Bogardus, hair and makeup. Jenna and Graham chose family members, teammates and friends as their attendants. Another special friend fulfilled a crucial role at the ceremony. “We had Johnny Doskow, who’s also the radio announcer for the Sacramento Mudcats, a team Graham used to play on, to officiate our wedding,” Jenna said. “He’s known us for a long time, and it was really important for us to fly him out.” About two weeks after the wedding, Graham left to play See palette, next page

Weddings & Engagements



Mrs. Craig Ellis Campbell of Birmingham and Dr. William Chambers Waller of Show Low, Ariz., announce the engagement of their daughter, Ann Bennett Waller, to Joseph Lee Braswell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Eugene Braswell Jr. of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. William Chambers Waller of Birmingham and the late Dr. William Chambers Waller of Montgomery and the late Mrs. Jane


Mr. and Mrs. Ben Bailey of Alabaster announce the engagement of their daughter, Meighan Marie

Heustess Prestwood of Montgomery as well as the late Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Tennyson Prestwood of Montgomery. Miss Waller is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and the University of Alabama, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. She was presented at the Montgomery Debutante Assembly and the Krewe of Athenians Ball. Miss Waller is managing editor of flower magazine in Birmingham. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mrs. Clyde Warren Fleming of Auburn and Mr. and Mrs. William Calvin Guin of Birmingham as well as Mrs. Wilbur Eugene Braswell of Jacksonville, Fla., and the late Mr. Wilbur Eugene Braswell of Birmingham. Mr. Braswell graduated from Mountain Brook High School and attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he received a bachelor’s degree in communications. He is owner of Guin Service, LLC. The wedding is planned for Feb. 22. Bailey, to Benjamin Pilleteri, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Pilleteri of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. James Speed and Ms. Jean Tidwell of Pelham and the late Mr. Herman L. Tidwell of Sipsey and the late Mr. and Mrs. Edward McCarty of West Jefferson. Miss Bailey is a graduate of Spain Park High School. She is employed with OrthoSports Associates, LLC. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Joe N. Pilleteri and the late Mr. and Mrs. John B. Thomas, all of Birmingham. Mr. Pilleteri is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a certified public accountant and is employed with Henderson & DeJohn, LLC. The wedding will be Oct. 4.


From previous page

winter baseball in the Dominican Republic. Jenna spent Christmas with him there at a resort in Punta Cana. She’s not just a supportive wife but a devoted baseball fan, too. “I’ll always remember watching Graham get his first major league win,” she said. “It was June 2011, and he was with the A’s, and they were playing the San Francisco Giants in the ‘Battle of the Bay.’” Graham, a right-handed pitcher, beat the Giants’ two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum that night. “It’s great to watch the man you love do what he loves,” Jenna said. Graham has a memorable experience, too—and it’s not related to baseball but to his wedding day. “Two memories really jump out for me,” he said. “The first was seeing Jenna in her dress for the first time. All I knew was that her dress was amazing, so I was excited to see what the

big deal was. My expectations were blown away, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. “The other lasting impression was seeing her walk down the aisle to ‘Paradise.” The music combined with the image of my gorgeous wife walking toward me made time stop, and I knew she was the love of my life.” ❖


Casey Brooke Byrom and Austin Graham Hooper were married on Nov. 16 at Windwood Equestrian in Pelham. Pastor Patrick Murphy of Waco, Texas, the groom’s uncle, officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marty Byrom of Homewood. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clif Hooper of Waco. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a Lusan Mandongus multi-layered lace sheath gown with point d’esprit netting and lace appliques. Covered buttons cascaded down the back of the dress into the chapel-length train while soft Alençon lace draped over the bride’s shoulders into a keyhole back. Molly Byrom of Birmingham, sister of the bride, was maid of honor. Meredith D’Amico of Birmingham was matron of honor. Bridesmaids were Ashley Byrom, Christy Hayes and Laura Johnson, all of Birmingham; Hayley Hooper of Arlington, Texas; and Bridget McMahon and Sara Stroupe of New York City. Story Gustafson of Wichita Falls, Texas, cousin of the groom, was the flower girl. Nat Heston of Houston, cousin of the groom, was the best man. Groomsmen were Colt Byrom of Birmingham, Travis Cobbs of Dallas, Ashton Gustafson of Wichita Falls, Mason Ingram of New York City, Brock Murphy of Waco and Rusty Van Zandt of Austin. Parker and Beckett Byrom of Birmingham, nephews of the bride, were the ring bearers. House party members were Betsy Beam of Birmingham; Britney Cline of Nashville, Tenn.; Lucy Kosturko of Raleigh, N.C.; and April McKinney of Fairhope. Ushers were Daniel Grant, Andy Kuchera and Hank McWhorter of Austin and Jeffrey Harral of Dallas. The ceremony and reception were held at Windwood Equestrian, where guests danced the night away under the stars. The menu was carefully selected by the couple featuring several “Southern comfort” and “Tex-Mex” dishes. The couple left the reception in a yellow cab as a sentimental reminder of the city where they met and fell in love, New York. The couple now lives in Waco.

To have our wedding & engagement forms sent to you, call 823-9646.

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 25

26 • Thursday, January 23, 2014



Homewood Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award winners

Sweet Success at Savage’s Daughter Joins Dad at Award-winning Homewood Bakery

Savage’s Bakery was recently named Business of the Year by the Homewood Chamber of Commerce. From left: Margaret Scott and her father, Van Scott, work behind the counter at the bakery. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

While Savage’s Bakery has been a landmark in downtown Homewood since the 1950s, owner Van Scott gives the credit for the company’s most recent accolade to his daughter, Margaret Scott, who came on board with the family business about three years ago. Savage’s Bakery was named Business of the Year by the Homewood Chamber of Commerce in December. “I attribute that to the work that Margaret has done,” Van said. “She’s added a fresh new enthusiasm, and she’s worked hard to get friendly faces behind the counter.” Founded in 1939 on Highland Avenue in Birmingham by William Savage, the bakery was relocated to downtown Homewood in the 1950s. Vann bought the bakery in 1978 after Savage died. At the time, Vann was just 27 years old. “I knew that I didn’t want to sit behind a desk, and I needed a job that was active. I grew up loving sports, and this business is a lot more physical than you would think,” Vann said. “I knew I wanted to be my own boss and to control my own destiny.” By the time he bought Savage’s from William Savage’s widow, Vann already knew the ins and outs of the bakery business. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama, Vann worked at Waite’s Bakery for about a year and a half. The Southside landmark known for its ice cream and cakes closed in 1988 after more than six decades in business. “When I worked at Waite’s, I made it my goal to learn everything I could,” Vann said. “I would come in four or five hours before my shift started to work with the bakers so I could learn how to make everything

that was served.” That willingness to learn all aspects of the bakery business is something that the young entrepreneur continued when he bought Savage’s. “I made up my mind to learn everything about the business so that if I had to, I could do all of it myself,” he said. But luckily, Van has had the support of his family since he first bought Savage’s Bakery. “My mother, my sisters--we’ve all worked here at one point or another,” Margaret said. “It’s truly a family business.” That family, Margaret said, includes Savage’s employees. “That’s something we really pride ourselves on and always have,” Margaret said. “Some of our employees have been with us since the beginning, and they really are like our family. The business has provided a wonderful life for our family, and I want that for our employees.” Van also credits much of the bakery’s success to the hard work and loyalty of his longtime employees. “Like Ben, our baker,” he said. “He was 19 when he started here, and he’s still here 33 years later. His own children have also grown up working here. Ben’s son feels like he’s Margaret’s brother.” Vann said he’s often contacted by former employees who tell him how much working at Savage’s meant to them. “They know that no matter how many years have passed, they can call me up and I’ll answer,” he said. “Just the other day, I had a guy who worked here as a teenager who is a very successful businessman now call me. He was looking for a good job for his stepson, and so he called me. That kind of thing means a lot to me.” While Margaret grew up at the feet of her father as he made the bakery’s famous meltaways, petit fours, iced cookies and cakes, it wasn’t until a few years ago that she decided to make the family business her career. A graduate of Mountain Brook

High School, Margaret earned a bachelor’s degree in managerial finance from the University of Mississippi and then spent three years working at a ski resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo. “I moved home when my sister was about to have her baby, and he’s 3 now. I hadn’t really planned on staying at that point, but it worked out that way and I’m really happy it did,” she said. Working with her father every day is fun, Margaret said, especially when she gets to turn the tables on the boss. “I like to boss him around from time to time,” she said, laughing. Having his daughter learning the family business and making strides to expand the company’s reach is a true blessing, Van said. “What’s wonderful for me is having my youngest daughter here. I never wanted my daughters to work here in some ways because I didn’t want them to have to work that hard. But having Margaret here has made our relationship so much closer, and I love it,” he said. Margaret now does all the bak-

‘I never wanted my daughters to work here in some ways because I didn’t want them to have to work that hard. But having Margaret here has made our relationship so much closer, and I love it.’ ery’s bookkeeping and has done a fabulous job, her dad said, of training new employees and taking care of the details that keep the business running smoothly. “Margaret has been really proactive about doing the little things that make things better for our customers, whether that’s new signage or participating in community events,” he said. As for the future of Savage’s, both father and daughter said they want to continue to build the business without compromising its commitment to its customers, employees and community. “We want to still be going strong for the next generation while staying true to our history,” Margaret said. That approach seems to be expanding the bakery’s reach beyond baked goods. In 2012, Savage’s pimento cheese sandwich with sun-dried tomato bread was voted one of the “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” by the Alabama Tourism Department. The pimento cheese in the sandwich is based on William Savage’s original recipe and is spread between sun-dried tomato bread that is baked fresh at the Homewood bakery. For more information, visit www. savagebakery.com. ❖

A Bright Idea O’Henry’s Coffee Owner Builds on Founder’s Success By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

bankruptcy shortly after I got here, and I saw the handwriting on the wall.” By that time Adamy had been introduced to Bright by a mutual friend. “It just so happened that around that time, Dr. Bright was thinking of retiring, and so my wife and I bought the company from him,” Adamy said. “He hasn’t had a financial interest in the company since then, but he has helped us every step of the way.” Adamy said Bright took him under his wing and taught him everything he knew about roasting and serving coffee. “Learning everything so quickly was like taking a drink from a fire hose, but Henry was a very patient and wonderful teacher,” he said. Bright also taught him how to be a successful small business owner, Adamy said. “I was a good businessman in the food industry and had been president of two companies, but I had never been an entrepreneur,” Adamy said. “Henry’s (business) records were impeccable, and it made the transition so much easier.” And while Bright slowly pulled away to leave the company in new hands, Adamy said the retired orthodontist still has strong ties to and strong influence in O’Henry’s Coffee. “Fifteen years later and he still helps,” Adamy said. “He has a small roaster at home and does some sample roasting for us.” O’Henry’s Coffee now has five locations--the latest opened in December on Highland Avenue in Birmingham. The Homewood location is on 18th Street South, and there’s also an O’Henry’s Coffee on the campus of Samford University and at Brookwood Village. Another location is in the Regions/Harbert Tower in downtown Birmingham.

When he accepted the Business of the Year Award from the Homewood Chamber of Commerce in December, Randy Adamy said it was the culmination of the vision of the man who started O’Henry’s Coffee more than 20 years ago. O’Henry’s Coffee was first opened in Homewood in 1993 by Dr. Henry Bright, a retired orthodontist whose search for a truly great cup of coffee led him to start the coffee shop and its sister company, O’Henry’s Coffee Roasting Company. “From the beginning, Dr. Bright was motivated by wanting to create a place where the community could come together and have a quality cup of coffee,” Adamy said. “That’s what we still try to do today at O’Henry’s.” Bright, ever the methodical scientist, did extensive research on creating the perfect cup of coffee for two years before he opened the first O’Henry’s Coffee in Homewood, Adamy said. Bright traveled to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, New York, Boston and other major cities conducting research, Adamy said. Bright met people in the industry, attended conferences and trade shows and decided to control the quality of his product from the very beginning by roasting his own coffee beans. Bright was ahead of his time when he came up with the idea to open a coffee roasting company and coffeehouse in Homewood, Adamy said. “A lot of people must have thought he had a screw loose,” Adamy said. “This was before the coffeehouse See O’Henry’s, next page scene became really popular. It was before Starbucks. Dr. Bright had a really pioneering spirit and vision.” Adamy and his wife Mary bought the company from Bright in 1999, a couple of years after Adamy’s job in the food industry brought the family from Michigan to the Over the Mountain area. “I was recruited here in 1997 by Bruno’s to head up Lakeshore Foods and help expand the Vincent’s Randy Adamy in the O’Henry’s Coffee shop’s Brookwood Market concept,” location. The business, founded in 1993 by Dr. Henry Bright, was named Small Business of the Year by the Adamy said. “Bruno’s filed for Homewood Chamber of Commerce. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel


Vestavia Chamber Honors Businesses, Individuals By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce recently honored two businesses for their outstanding commitment and service to the chamber and the whole community. The chamber named Publix Supermarkets on U.S. 31 in Vestavia Hills as the 2013 Retail Business of the Year and Principal Mortgage LLC on Vestavia Parkway as the 2013 Service Business of the Year. The awards were presented at the chamber’s annual awards luncheon at Vestavia Country Club on Jan. 14. In order to be considered for the Retail and Service Business of the Year Awards, businesses must have good relationships with their customers and employees, be supportive of the Chamber of Commerce’s efforts and demonstrate civic involvement, chamber officials said. In making the award presentation to Dave Quinn, manager of the Publix store in Vestavia Hills, Scott Perry, past chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, said the company has been an asset to the community since it opened. “This company came to Vestavia Hills several years ago and quickly became an unbelievable partner to the city, the schools and the chamber,” Perry said. Perry said he saw Quinn’s commitment to the community a few years ago when bad weather left Canyon Road blocked by fallen tree limbs and other debris. “I was rushing home to bunker down with my family and as I’m going down Canyon Road, I see Dave Quinn and his employees out in the pouring rain moving tree limbs and other debris from the road,” he said. “Along with everything else the store does to help our community, that really spoke to the staff’s commitment to


From previous page

“We opened the one downtown about a year and a half after we bought the company,” Adamy said. “We knew we’d have to expand the company’s vision there and serve food, and still, about 40 percent of our sales at that location are from food.” Adamy said as he continues to grow the business, he has kept in place the things that Bright instituted when he started the company. “We’re still about coffee and community,” he said. “We’re still a place where people can come in, visit with their friends and neighbors and know they are getting a great cup of coffee, too.” Adamy said part of continuing that culture of community in the business is making sure that the staff is properly trained and motivated. “I teach an O’Henry’s Hospitality and Espresso 101 course to all of our new hires,” he said. “We have to

Scott Perry presents Paul Sumner of Principal Mortgage with the 2013 Service Business of the Year Award. To see more photos from the awards luncheon go to otmj.com Photo special to the Journal by Mike Jackson

Vestavia Hills.” Chamber President Karen Odle said Quinn “is an incredible representative for Publix” and that the city was fortunate to have businesses like the supermarket that are involved in supporting its economic well-being. In the award presentation to Principal Mortgage, Perry said the company “has been a vital member of the chamber and a fixture in the community” for many years. “Paul Sumner served as past Chamber chair, Roger Steur has served as a trustee the past three years and Mark Feild planned and participated in the Pumpkin Patch,” Perry said. “They’ve also participated in events like I Love America Day, Holiday in the Hills and Viva Vestavia.” Additionally, the mortgage company has members on the chamber’s Business Development Committee, and four of its employees are graduates of Leadership Vestavia Hills. “It’s a company that we lean on in so many ways for their service and leadership,” Perry said. In addition to the Business of the make sure we are training the next generation of leaders.” Adamy said he also built on Bright’s legacy of making sure that O’Henry’s is a company that takes care of its employees. “The relationship with our employees is important to us, and that also goes back to what Dr. Bright tried to do,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have a lot of bright young people working for us and many more who would like to work for us. Now, we get about 800 applications a year.” Adamy said he’s not certain more O’Henry’s Coffees will open in the future but that his ultimate goal is to keep the quality and integrity that have been a part of the business from the very beginning intact. “We could probably open several more (shops) in the Birmingham area, but what’s most important to us is to make sure we keep the quality that O’Henry’s customers have come to expect,” he said. For more information, visit www. ohenryscoffees.com. ❖

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 27

business Year Awards, the chamber also honored several other individuals and businesses at the Jan. 14 luncheon. Mark Macoy of Mark W. Macoy LLC was presented with the President’s Award. Macoy serves as the secretary/legal counsel for the chamber’s board of directors. The 2013 Board Member of the Year Award went to James Robinson of Alagasco. Kim Mangham-Barelare of SouthStar Properties LLC was named the Member of the Year. The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Ben Chambliss of Jackson Howard & Whatley LLC.❖

OTM Chambers Plan Luncheons, Special Events The Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Village to Village run at 8 a.m. on Jan. 25. Entry fees are $35 or $20 for students 18 and younger through Jan. 24. The entry fee on race day is $40. The Homewood Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Taste of Homewood from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 at Rosewood Hall.

Tickets are $30 per person in advance or $35 on the day of the event. The Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce will host its monthly luncheon at noon on Feb. 20 at the Hoover Country Club. Tickets are $20 with reservations and $22 without reservations.

Reservations are due by Feb. 17. The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce will host its monthly luncheon on Feb. 11 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Vestavia Country Club. The program will be announced at a later date. Tickets are $18 through Feb. 7 and $25 after that. ❖

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28 • Thursday, January 23, 2014


By Ginny Cooper

Stefanie and Matt Schoeneman of Hoover both scored 36 on their ACTs this year.


Journal staff writer

hile most twins have many things in common, few share the same level of achievement that Matt and Stefanie Schoeneman do. The 17-year-old Spain Park High School students each scored a perfect 36 on their ACT exams. But they aren’t the only high achievers in the family. Last year, Matt and Stefanie’s older sister, Devon, also scored 36 on the ACT. Their mother, Debbie Shoeneman, said having three children with perfect ACT scores has been very exciting for the family. “I’m very proud of them. They’ve always been quite smart, quite accomplished,” she said. The ACT college readiness assessment is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students’ academic readiness for college. The ACT consists of four timed, multiplechoice tests: English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. Nationally, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn the top score. Among test takers in the high school graduating class of 2013, only 1,162 of more than 1.8 million students who took the test earned a composite score of 36, according to ACT records. Stefanie said she set her sights on scoring a 36 on the ACT because she knew she had the potential to ace it and wanted to prove it. Matt said his motivation for taking the test eight times was mostly fueled by sibling rivalry. “Originally, I didn’t really care that much when Stef was first going for it, but after Stef got it, I really wanted it,” he said. The twins said their sister Devon set the bar high when she scored a 36 on the ACT on her third attempt.

Photo special to the Journal

Sibling Success

Spain Park Twins Get Perfect ACT Scores “I took the ACT three times, first in seventh grade, when I got a 27. In my sophomore year, I earned a 35. Then, in February of 2011, I finally got the 36,” Devon said. Devon graduated from Spain Park High School in 2012 and is now a student at Northeastern University in Boston. Perfect scores on the ACT aren’t the twins’ only accomplishments. Both students are very involved in their school as well. Matt participates in the unofficial hockey team, plays saxophone in the band and is on Scholars Bowl team. Stefanie is also involved in Scholars Bowl and in Amnesty International and the Gay Straight Alliance.

Miss Heritage 2014 finalists were, from left: Mackenzie Yelton, Mae Dowda, Sara Hale, Anna Laws and Annie Livingston. Photo special to the Journal

New Miss Heritage Crowned in Homewood A new Miss Heritage has been crowned at Homewood High School. Sara Hale, a sophomore, was named Miss Heritage 2014 on Nov. 23 in front of a large audience at Homewood High School’s auditorium. There were 64 Homewood High School students from all four grades competing in the scholarship pageant. The students and their escorts entertained the capacity crowd with a dance routine. The event was hosted by Miss Alabama Chandler Champion with entertainment provided by Miss Tuscaloosa 2014 Cassidy Jacks and Homewood High School’s own musical


duo, Uneven Ground. Anna Laws was named Senior Queen, and the Junior Queen crown went to Mackenzie Yelton. Annie Livingston was named Sophomore Queen, and Mae Dowda was crowned Freshman Queen. The Miss Heritage 2014 pageant was organized by Scott Thorne, the Homewood High School Show Choir teacher.

Mountain Brook Student Registration in Progress Mountain Brook Schools is now enrolling kindergarten students for the 2014-15 school year. Children who will be 5 years old before Sept. 1 may now enroll for

Both students are National Merit Scholars and are taking multiple Advanced Placement classes. “AP classes have helped me get ready for the ACT, because you have to take standardized tests for the classes, and the teachers prepare you well for them,” Stefanie said. The twins are now busy applying for college. Stefanie said she wants to major in political science and work towards welfare and health care reform. She said that McGill University in Montreal is her first choice. “I’m also thinking of NYU or Johns Hopkins,” she said. Matt said he would like to return to his native city, Chicago, and study to become a neurologist at the University of Chicago.

“I’m also considering Auburn and UAB,” he said. Steve and Debbie Schoeneman have two other high-achieving children: Michael, who earned a 29 on the ACT, and Erin, who scored a 31. Debbie said reading was the key to her children’s success and said she started reading to them when they were infants. “I have always encouraged them to read,” Debbie said. The family also went to the library often when the children were young, and reading at home has always been highly encouraged, Debbie said. Debbie volunteers in a reading advocacy program offered through Birmingham City Schools. Debbie said she and her husband set high standards for their children, and she thinks that has helped them achieve success. “Our children have always been encouraged to strive for success on their own. Especially in middle school and high school, they are responsible for their own work and completing their assignments,” Debbie said. “It is also unacceptable in our home to claim to be ‘bad’ at any subject. With the right teacher, you can learn anything unless you have a learning disability. Our children are fortunate to be pretty smart, and they are expected to try to do something with the gifts God has given them.” Debbie said she thinks the quality instruction the children have received in Hoover City Schools has also been integral to their achievements. The family moved to Hoover from Chicago eight years ago. “Obviously, we have been in a place that can and did develop and nurture our children’s talents and take them where they were capable of being taken,” Debbie said. “That is a testament to the teachers and the administrators that work with our children. As (Spain Park High School Principal) Dr. Ken Jarnagin likes to say, ‘It takes the three stakeholders to be successful: students, parents and school teachers and administrators.’ We couldn’t agree more.” ❖

School Notes kindergarten in Mountain Brook, school officials said. Parents should visit www.mtnbrook. k12.al.us to create a student account. Each elementary school will hold enrollment sessions. Parents should bring original copies of their child’s birth certificate, Social Security card and blue immunization form to the enrollment session. If a child does not have a Social Security number, parents can call 877-8304 to have a student number assigned. School officials said completing the online portion of the enrollment forms prior to the sessions at the school greatly speeds up the registration process. Families who do not currently have students in the Mountain Brook Schools system or who have not filed a new address with the school office will need to provide proof of residency. For accepted forms of residency documentation, visit the school system’s website. Cherokee Bend Elementary’s enrollment session will be Feb. 5, and the enrollment session at Mountain Brook Elementary will be Feb. 12. The kindergarten enrollment session at Brookwood Forest Elementary will be Feb. 20, and on Feb. 25 Crestline Elementary will have its enrollment session. All sessions will be held from 9-11 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. For more information, call the board office at 871-4608.

Liberty Park Middle School students recently showed their geography prowess at the school’s annual geography bee. From left: Retired geography professor Greg Jeane, who officiated the contest, Ian Harper, Quaid Rasmussen and Thomas Wade. Photo special to the Journal

Sixth-grader Wins LPM Geography Bee A sixth-grader won this year’s geography bee at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills. Ian Harper won first place in the event at the school. Seventh-grader Quaid Rasmussen won second place, and Thomas Wade placed third. The contest was officiated by Greg Jeane, a retired geography professor from Samford University. Harper said he became interested in geography after playing an app state game. Once he found out that he had qualified for the bee, he visited the

National Geographic GeoBee website and took the site’s daily geography quiz, he said. All sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students at LPMS took a qualifier test. The 30 students with the highest scores participated in the school-wide bee. As the school winner, Harper will take a test that may qualify him for the Alabama State Geography Bee. Only the top 75 school winners make it to the state event. State winners will participate in the National Bee in Washington D.C. The overall winner will receive a $25,000 scholarship plus a trip with National Geographic and “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek to the Galapagos Islands.

Oak Mountain Honors Two for Service

Two members of the Oak Mountain Elementary faculty and staff were recently recognized for their dedication, commitment and service to the school. Third-grade teacher Lori Lancaster was named the school’s Teacher of the Year, and Willie Davis, a member of the school’s custodial team, was named Support Staff of the Year. An educator for 21 years, eight of those at Oak Mountain Elementary, Lancaster is known for building a warm community within her classroom, maintaining remarkable classroom management and displaying leadership among her colleagues, school officials said. Her students have described her as “smart, sweet and loving.” Lancaster also encourages the love of teaching among her colleagues. She spends a great amount of time mentoring first- and secondyear teachers on best practices in education. Lancaster said she became a teacher so that she can let her stu-

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 29



and better equipped to navigate what their futures hold.” Davis has been on the staff for several years, is dedicated to providing a pristine school and is well-respected by his colleagues and the students with whom he interacts each day. He is known for being a team player and always creating a positive atmosphere around the Willie Davis, left, and Lori Lancaster were recently rec- school. ognized by Oak Mountain Elementary School. Davis said he Photo special to the Journal likes coming to dents know they are cared for and to work each day help them prepare for the future. because he feels like those at the “It is my desire to be one person, school are part of his family. one influence in my students’ lives “I just love to work, and I love who demonstrates how much I truly the people I work with,” he said. care for them, their education and His colleagues describe Davis as their future,” she said. “In doing this, “encouraging, hard-working, wise, my students will hopefully become always happy, a gentleman and more confident, motivated to learn loyal.” ❖

Bumpus Middle Students Conquer Coding Class Sixteen Bumpus Middle School students used their computer skills to win a grant for their classroom. The students completed Code.org’s K-8 Intro to Computer Science Class Dec. 9-15 in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. The multiple hours of coding conquered by each student resulted in a choice of featured prizes and a certificate of recognition from Code.org. Keith Minisman, the students’ Tech Electives teacher, was awarded a $750 DonorsChoose.org classroom funding grant. ❖

Bumpus Middle School students’ computer coding skills helped them win a grant for their classroom. Front, from left: Josh Kurgat, Hana Park, Mackenzie Pitts, David Dykes and Drew Chaffin. Middle: Reid Corrigan, Jacob Casey, Katheryn Beatty and Victoria Nicoll. Back: Gavin Close, Patrell Williams, Abdul Diane, Nishanth Yuvaraj and Mathew Raymon. Brandon Waldo and Stefan Raschke are not pictured. Photo special to the Journal

School Notes

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Share the good news from your classroom and send us photos to kdrexel@otmj.com

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January 28 , 29 & 30th Crestline Elementary students look at live specimens brought to their class by Dr. Thane Wibbels. Photo special to the Journal

Crestline Fifth-graders Study Ecosystems Fifth-graders at Crestline Elementary School in Mountain Brook recently got a visit from Dr. Thane Wibbels, a professor of marine biology. The students have been researching how ecosystems are impacted by environmental and human factors. Wibbels brought those lessons to life by sharing his research on sea turtles and their population fluctuations. Wibbels brought along several live specimens, including a variety of snakes, turtles, frogs and other reptiles and amphibians indigenous to Alabama. The visit further piqued the students’ curiosity on the impact humans can have on ecosystems, their teachers said.

Shades Cahaba Singers Perform at Festival Singers at Shades Cahaba Elementary School in Homewood

Shades Cahaba Elementary School students performed at a music festival at Samford University. Front, from left: Riley Durkin, McKeever Wright, Sara Frances Lowery, Anna Claire Stone, Natalie Wilson and Emma Petrey. Back: John Thomas Ellison, Madeline Kline and Destiny Hernandez. Ashley Chicnes is not pictured. Photo special to the Journal recently performed at a music festival at Samford University. Hailey Pepper, Shades Cahaba’s music teacher, and 10 fifth-grade students participated in the Alabama Music Educators Association’s Choral Festival at Samford University. The students gathered with other elementary students from all over the state to sing and perform under the direction of Dr. Maribeth Yoder-White. The Shades Cahaba students participating included Ashley Chicnes, Destiny Hernandez, Madeline Kline, Emma Petrey, John Thomas Ellison, Natalie Wilson, Anna Claire Stone, Sara Frances Lowery, McKeever Wright and Riley Durkin.

Brock’s Gap Students Hear from Veteran Frances Phelps was the keynote speaker at the Brock’s Gap Intermediate School Veterans Day program. Phelps, a 90-year-old U.S. Navy

veteran, spoke about her career at the school’s annual Veterans Day celebration. Phelps told students and teachers at the event about joining the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in December 1943. She also told the audience that she prides herself on maintaining the ability to change the oil in her truck and make repairs on her John Deere mower. A reception preceded the program. ❖

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30 • Thursday, January 23, 2014


all otm team, From previous page

football. Just as significantly, he has achieved every single victory as head coach of the Rebels. The coaches also chose Hoover defensive back/kick returner Marlon Humphrey and Vestavia defensive end Dalton Campbell as the 2013 Over the Mountain Players of the Year. Humphrey, a senior, led the rugged Buccaneer defensive corps and is among the most highly recruited defensive backs in the nation. He had 44 tackles, broke up seven passes and forced two fumbles. Humphrey’s father Bobby was an All-American running back at the University of Alabama in the 1980s. Campbell, also a senior, led a tough defense that sparked the Rebels to the state Class 6A semifinals. He recorded 88 tackles, including 26 stops for losses and 10 quarterback sacks. He also blocked two punts, caused four fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown. Vestavia placed eight players on the team, while six Spain Park Jaguars earned their way onto the elite squad. The Rebels’ Landon Crowder and Mickey Todd Forrest of Spain Park were named quarterbacks for the team. Joining them in the backfield were Jordan Johnson of Vestavia, Walter Rutledge of Homewood, Otis Harris of Spain Park, Victor Jerald of Briarwood and Bradrick

Shaw of Hoover. Dalton Brown of Spain Park and Hunter Branch of Mountain Brook are the wide receivers. Kyle Sitzler of Vestavia is the tight end. Thomas Taylor of Spain Park is the team’s placekicker. An outstanding offensive line includes Jordan Sims and John Yarbrough of Homewood, Nick Bodden and Vince Brown of Hoover, Ryan Childers of Vestavia and Christian Anderson of Mountain Brook. The 2013 All-Over the Mountain defensive unit is one of the most talented and deepest in history. Chosen for the front wall are Tristan Tahmaseb and Campbell of Vestavia, Christian Bell and Dylan Ackerson of Hoover, Daniel Scott of Briarwood and Devin Pughsley of Spain Park. As always, the Over the Mountain area features standouts at linebacker. Earning places on this year’s team are Chandler Coskery and Darrell Williams of Hoover, Buddy Pell of Mountain Brook, Bobby Morgan of Vestavia, Riley Fowler of Oak Mountain, Perry Young of Spain Park and Ethan Simmons of Briarwood. The defensive backs may be among the best ever featured. Humphrey is joined by Hoover teammate Brooks Bennett. Also included are Chris Johnson of Oak Mountain, Devonta Barnfield-Rapley of Homewood and Nicholas Hilburn of Vestavia. Blake Miller of Oak Mountain is the punter.


Members of the Mountain Brook Junior High basketball team are, from left, front: Dowd Ritter, Pierce Rodrigues, Grant Griffin, Zach Shunarrah, Brendan Brogan and Bradley Pinson. Back: Lior Berman, Daniel Wilbanks, Brett Lewis, James Burkett, Colton Yeager, Ben Garrett and Coach Bruce Henricks. Photo special to the Journal

MBJH Seventh Grade Basketball Team Wins Holiday Tournament

The Mountain Brook Junior High School seventh grade boys’ basketball team went undefeated in the War on the Wood Tournament at North Jefferson Middle School, Dec. 27 and 28. The Spartans won the championship game when Lior Berman sank a three-pointer at the buzzer, giving the team a one point win over Irondale. Colton Yeager was named tournament MVP and Ben Garrett was named to the All-Tournament Team. The seventh grade team is coached by Bruce Henricks and Zach Skipper.

Raptors Repeat

The fourth-grade Oak Mountain Raptors returned to the Jingle Bell Jam annual hoops tournament in December to defend their title from last year, and the team didn’t let their fans down going 5-0 in the tourney.

Dalton Campbell of Vestavia Hills, 2013 Co-Player of the Year, and Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills, 2013 Coach of the Year.

Over the Mountain Co-Player of the Year Marlon Humphrey of Hoover. Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

Members of the Raptors are from left, front: Cam Whitaker, Tyler Fanning, Evan Smith and Grant Rakers. Back: Coach Kris Dunn, Brady Dunn, Taylor Bush, Wilder Evers, Ryan Giegel, Cameron Atkinson and Asst. Coach Mike. Davis Gillespie is not pictured. Photo special to the Journal


From previous page

“It’s obviously a great honor,” Mathis said when contacted last week. “Making All-Pro and getting to play in the Pro Bowl have been goals of mine since the Homewood days. I didn’t expect it to take quite this long, but I’m grateful for the journey that brought me here.” The Eagles’ season ended on a disappointing note when the New Orleans Saints pulled off a 26-24 upset in the opening round of the playoffs. Despite the loss, Mathis is impressed with first-year coach Chip Kelly, who came to Philadelphia after turning the University of Oregon into a college powerhouse. “Coach Kelly is brilliant,” Mathis said. “He’s innovative, logical and forward-thinking. He and his staff do a great job making sure our bodies are taken care of and are at their peak on game days. There’s not a team in the league that utilizes modern sports science the way we do.”

And while Mathis is grateful and appreciative for all the post-season honors, there is one prize he would value above all others. “I’d much rather have a Super Bowl ring than any individual honor,” he said. “The individual awards are great, but I’d trade them in a heartbeat to have the opportunity to still be playing. Since we aren’t in the playoffs,

the honors do help me keep my mind off the fact our season is over.” Mathis’ selection for the Pro Bowl, however, meant his sabbatical from football was brief. “Since I’ve never played in the game before, I don’t have any preconceived notion of what it will be like,” he said. “Hawaii is a great place to visit, and there will be some good peo-

ple there. I’m really looking forward to the experience.” After the Pro Bowl, Mathis plans to spend much of the off-season working out at the Zone Athletic Performance facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., which he founded four years ago. His younger brother, Adam, runs the operation. “Adam is one of the two head trainers and runs the business part of it,” Mathis said. “He does a tremendous job. I go there and get some amazing training in an awesome environment.” Mathis has found as much fulfillment in his personal life as in his football career. He and his wife Katelyn are the parents of a daughter, Lee Ila, who is about to celebrate her second birthday. “She’s almost two, but she already Mathis’ career really took off after being traded from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. Since then he has started every game for the Eagles at left guard. Photo special to the Journal

runs the household,” Mathis said, laughing.” My wife and I have the best time with her. Being a father is my greatest life accomplishment.” Those who have followed Mathis since his high school days may find it hard to believe, but he has just completed his 10th season in the NFL. Retirement doesn’t seem to be on his mind. “If my body continues to hold up, I hope to keep going for another four to six seasons,” he said. For all his success at the highest level of professional football, Mathis has never lost touch with his network of friends and family back home, including Bob Newton, his former coach at Homewood. “This past season, I communicated with Coach Newton almost every week,” Mathis said. “The amount of support and congratulations I’ve received from friends and family is phenomenal. I’m lucky to know so many good people.” Through hard work and grit, Evan Mathis has made his own luck–all the way to Hawaii and the Pro Bowl.


Weekend wrapup

Parker Has Shades Mountain Christian Off to Surprising Start

Brandon Wharton, above left, scored 14 and sank four late free throws to seal a 66-60 triumph over crosstown rival Jefferson Christian last week. Elijah Jones, above right, puts up a shot over a Jefferson Christian defender. Mikey Rogers, right hit four three-point baskets for Shades Mountain to help pace the Eagles. More photos at otmj.com Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer

In a casual conversation with firstyear Shades Mountain Christian boys’ basketball coach Todd Parker, you quickly learn two things: His favorite coach is the legendary John Wooden of UCLA, and his favorite fictitious character is super-secret agent James Bond. Perhaps Parker has utilized the best attributes of both his heroes in turning around the Eagle basketball program in 2013-14. With Shades Mountain coming off a 12-17 season, Parker has instituted a remarkable turnaround in his maiden voyage. Going into the weekend, the Eagles were 13-5 overall with a perfect 7-0 record in Class 1A Area 9. “The biggest thing is the kids have bought into the concept of high goals and expectations,” Parker said when contacted last week. “Just like when someone is in a workplace and a new boss comes in. It’s human nature to feel comfortable in the environment you’ve been in, and when somebody comes and says you have to do it a different way, it can be very uncomfortable. I’m very pleased with the attitude and effort that our guys have had from the very beginning.” If developing a good attitude sounds like a John Wooden principle, Shades Mountain’s style of play may resemble a basketball version of Agent 007: a relentless, full-court pressure defense that thrives on confusing the opponent and creating turnovers.

“Once our players learn it, pressure defense is fun to play, and the fans really enjoy it,” Parker said. “The thing about pressure defense is that everybody has to do their jobs just right or it won’t be successful. The kids understand that they have to play together.” Parker had a successful career at John Carroll Catholic before taking a sabbatical from coaching that ended when he accepted the position at Shades Mountain. He said the differences between coaching at a large Class 5A school such as John Carroll and a smaller Class 1A school are vast. “At John Carroll, you had 800 kids walking the halls,” he said. “If some didn’t want to buy into what we were doing, there would always other kids that did. But at the same time, at a bigger school, you had kids that didn’t know each other until they walked in the gym. On our team now, we’ve got 17 guys on our varsity and junior varsity who have been friends for years.” Shades Mountain’s surprisingly strong run hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Eagles have climbed to sixth in the latest Class 1A poll. Perhaps their most impressive recent victory was a 66-60 triumph over crosstown rival Jefferson Christian. Mikey Rogers hit four three-point baskets for Shades Mountain as he and Richard Ramsey each scored 16 points. Brandon Wharton scored 14 and sank four late free throws to seal the verdict. Other top contributors included Christian

Thursday, January 23, 2014 • 31

sports In weekend games, Homewood’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had a productive weekend against area rival Briarwood last week. The Patriot boys defeated the Lions 51-48 as Malik Cook scored 20 points and bagged seven rebounds. Cook also connected on 10 of 11 shots from the free throw line. Sam Cargo led Briarwood with 14 points. Homewood raised its record to 14-8 overall, 3-1 in Class 5A Area 9 competition. In girls’ play, the Lady Patriots ran their mark to 14-2 with a 54-46 win over the Lady Lions. Kelly Young led the winners with 14 points. Hannah Barber and Sarah Blake each scored 10 points, with Blake adding nine rebounds. Alex Studdard scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds. Mayiah Lee had five steals and four assists. Shelly Proctor led Briarwood with 10 points, and Lindy Sumerford had nine. Spain Park’s boys ran their Class 6A Area 8 record to 4-0 with a 60-40 win over Chelsea. Austin Wiley sparked the Patriots with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Antonio Moss chipped in 15 points. The Jaguars are 16-7 for the season. The Spain Park girls’ team overwhelmed Chelsea 52-16. Amanda Gaston scored 11 points, while Alyssa Gaston and Victoria Baldwin each scored eight points. The Lady Jaguars are 19-6 for the season, 4-0 in area play.

Mountain Brook’s boys’ team moved to 21-3 with a 60-43 rout of Shades Valley. Jack Kline led the balanced Spartan scoring attack with 13 points. Tawarren Grant added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Alex Peters had 11 points and five steals. The Mountain Brook girls were upset by the Lady Mounties 41-30. Sara Carr was the Lady Spartans’ top scorer with 15 points. Quamauri Hardy scored 22 points and added five assists to pace the Hoover boys to a 67-58 win over Class 6A Area 14 rival Hueytown. Maurice Brown added 17 points and five rebounds for the Bucs. Hoover brought its worksheet to 19-6 overall, 4-0 in area play. The Hoover girls routed Hueytown 57-23. Jailyn Maddox led the Lady Bucs with 18 points and five rebounds. Jada Smith scored 12. Pelham defeated Oak Mountain in boys’ play 53-49. Deshawn Giles led the Eagles with 18 points. Courtney Evans followed with nine. Vestavia’s girls defeated Woodlawn 50-27. Kaitlin Hogan scored 16 for the Lady Rebels, and Brittany Nkashama added 15. Vestavia brought its record to 9-10 overall and 2-3 in Class 6A Area 11 competition. Ramsey defeated John Carroll Catholic’s boys 72-47 despite Devin Hill’s 13 points and five rebounds. The Lady Rams also defeated the Lady Cavaliers 54-41. Roni Richardson and Lindsey Flemming each scored 10 points for the losing cause.

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Greene and Elijah Jones. As more people begin to notice the team’s success, Parker is determined not to lose focus. “It’s just like Coach Wooden preached, you use every practice to get better for the next game. And then you use every game to get better for the next one. We’re just trying to keep improving and be as good as we can.” Parker never loses his perspective. “If you don’t write anything else, be sure and say that I love our kids and I’m very proud of them,” he said. Odds are that neither John Wooden nor James Bond would have a problem with that statement.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Spy Kids: Parker Has Shades Mountain Off to Surprising Start See story page 31

Hoover and Anderson Highlight All-Over the Mountain Team

The 2013 All-Over the Mountain Defensive Team: First row, from left: Perry Young, Spain Park; Ethan Simmons, Briarwood; Bobby Morgan, Vestavia Hills; Nick Hilburn, Vestavia Hills, and Tristan Tahmaseb, Vestavia Hills. Second row, from left: Devin Pughsley, Spain Park; Dalton Campbell, Vestavia Hills; Blake Miller, Oak Mountain; Buddy Pell, Mountain Brook and Coach Buddy Anderson, Vestavia Hills. Third row: Devonta Barnfield-Rapley, Homewood; Daniel Scott, Briarwood Christian; Riley Fowler, Oak Mountain, and Chris Johnson, Oak Mountain.

By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer


ecades from now, the 2013 high school football season will be remembered for a particular team and a particular coach. The team, of course, was the Hoover Buccaneers. Hoover posted a 15-0 record to win its second consecutive state 6A championship. In addition to stretching their winning streak to 30 games, the Bucs were named national co-champions by the USA Football Network. The coach with the milestone year was Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills. Anderson earned his 300th career win with a 30-8 rout of Huffman in September. His victory total reached 308 by the season’s end as the Rebels compiled an 11-3 mark for the year. Two of Vestavia’s three losses came at the hands of the eventual state champs. Hoover’s and Anderson’s memorable seasons are reflected by the 2013 All-Over the Mountain team. Nine Buccaneers qualified for the unit, which was selected by an exclusive poll of the eight head coaches of the Over the Mountain schools that play in Class 6A or 5A. Anderson was chosen by his peers as the 2013 Over the Mountain Coach of the Year. “None of this was ever about me,” said Anderson, whose 38-year worksheet is 308-125. “This is about every kid who ever played football for Vestavia Hills High School. I’ve been saying this from the beginning. It’s all about the players and coaches.” Anderson was being characteristically modest, but surely he knows the significance of his accomplishments. Entering 2014, he needs only two victories to become the winningest coach in the history of Alabama high school See all otm team, page 30

Lee Davis


Ex-Patriot Mathis Earns First Team All-NFL honors


or a decade, Evan Mathis has probably been one of the steadiest performers in the National Football League. Beginning with his rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2005, the Homewood High School and University of Alabama graduate gained a reputation as a player who wouldn’t make a lot of noise off the field but would do his job on the field as well as anyone. Mathis’ career really took off after being traded from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. Since then he has started every

The 2013 All-Over the Mountain Offensive Team: First row, from left: Victor Jerald, Briarwood; Walter Rutledge, Homewood; Landon Crowder, Vestavia Hills, and Ryan Childers, Vestavia Hills. Second row: Mickey Todd Forrest, Spain Park; Hunter Branch, Mountain Brook; Christian Anderson, Mountain Brook. Third row: Jordan Sims, Homewood; Otis Harris, Spain Park; Dalton Brown, Spain Park, and Kyle Sitzler, Vestavia Hills. Not pictured: John Yarbrough, Homewood, and Thomas Taylor, Spain Park. Mathis and his wife Katelyn are the parents of a daughter, Lee Ila, above. “Being a father is my greatest life accomplishment,” Mathis said. Photo special to the Journal

Hoover members of the 2013 All-Over the Mountain Team. First row, from left: Bradrick Shaw, Vince Brown, Brooks Bennett and Marlon Humphrey. Second row, from left: Christian Bell, Chandler Coskery, Dylan Ackerson, Nick Bodden and Darrell Williams. Journal photos by Marvin Gentry

game for the Eagles at left guard. Last season, Mathis earned All-Pro honors from at least two respected organizations. In 2013, he did even better. After helping lead Philadelphia to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth, Mathis was named to the prestigious Associated Press All-NFL team for the first time. In addition, Pro Football Focus ranked Mathis as the best guard in the league. And perhaps the biggest honor of all came a few days later when Mathis was selected to play for the National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu on Jan. 26. See mathis, page 30

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