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





ursd ay, June 27, 2013

V ol . 22 #13

Iron City Showdown: Chefs to compete in Rotary fundraiser

about town page 4

public people private places

The Write Space

Settings are often key elements in literature—and they can be important to writers at work, too. Three Birmingham authors let us have a look at the places where they create their books, poems, columns and blogs. Top right: Liza Elliott likes to sit with pen and paper near the backyard waterfall at her Forest Park home. Bottom right: Charles Ghigna creates his poems for children in a “tree house” workspace in the attic of his historic Homewood home. Below: Spy novelist Keith Thomson takes time out to fly his iPhone-controlled mini-drone around his downtown Birmingham office. Stories begin on page 29.

OLS hosts Birmingham’s oldest July 4 festival

Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

fourth fun page 9

Volunteers gather to plan Hope Gala

social page 16

A Place for Adults With Autism Bluff Park UMC, Glenwood Partner to Open Promise Home

Homewood fashion show raises money for P.A.W.S.

social page 21

By William C. Singleton III


Journal contributor

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this month for the Promise Home in Hoover, which will provide a permanent home for adults with autism. From left: Glenwood CEO Lee Yount, Promise Home residents Romona Shaddix and Austin Thrasher and Rev. Reid Crotty. Journal photo by William C. Singleton III

ustin Thrasher, 34, has already picked out his room in his new home in Hoover. It has a bathroom with a shower, a closet, a ceiling fan and enough wall space for his television and a picture of his girlfriend. It even has a window with a view that looks toward Bluff Park United Methodist Church. “This is my room,” Thrasher said, telling everyone who passed by or entered during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication earlier this month at the new Promise Home.

See promise home, page 10

Efforts underway to preserve Berry School mural

school page 26

sue murphy makes nice p. 2 • vestavia deals with blighted homes p. 11 • competition heats up for bbq team p. 12 • mantooths mark 40 years p. 24

2 • Thursday, June 27, 2013


Attention Shoppers With the 12th edition of Mountain Brook’s Market Day just around the corner, merchants are preparing to slash prices and shoppers are making their wish lists. Market Day, set for July 20, is a Europeanstyle outdoor sidewalk and tent sale for merchants in Mountain Brook Village. See story page 14


Correction: A June 13 story listed incorrect names for the chairs and committee members of the Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Awesome 80s Gala. RMTC’s Gala 2013 was chaired by Gail and Jeffrey Bayer, along with Gala Committee members Debbie Drummond, Kim Gladney, Amanda Vaughan, Melissa McMurray, Amy Johnstone and Kelli Rucker, and Dress Circle Society President Beth Norris.

On Browse through more photos from the area’s biggest and best social events and keep up with the latest news by liking OTMJ on Facebook.

Coming JUly 25

After we return from our annual summer break, the next OTMJ issue will be July 25. Have a safe and happy Fourth!

in this issue About Town 4 NEWs 10 Life 12 people 13

murphy’s law

social 16 business 24 schools 26 Sports 36



June 27, 2013

Publisher: Maury Wald Editor: Keysha Drexel Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Office Manager: Christy Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Lee Davis Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, William C. Singleton III, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls Jr., Bryan Bunch Advertising Sales: Suzanne Wald, Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald Intern: Ivanna Ellis Vol. 22, No. 13

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at E-mail our advertising department at Find us on the Web at Copyright 2013 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification.


Isn’t That Nice?

for me” sounds selfish. “Vote for me itch Leigh has a dream. because John Doe is a lying…” might Take a plot of land, build get you kicked out of the neighborhood. some homes and busiWhich raises another question... nesses, and populate it with nice What happens if one of the certified people. Only nice people. nice people slips? No one is nice 24/7. Now, Mr. Leigh has had dreams They could wake up with a crick in before. He’s the genius who composed their neck or come home cranky from the hit Broadway musical “Man of La having to deal with some less-nice Mancha,” which includes that uplifting people in the outside world. Or, what song, “The Impossible Dream.” (Go on, if they go completely off the deep end sing a few bars. You know you want and start, I don’t know, leaving their to.) But, a nice-folks-only neighbortrash cans at the curb for weeks on end hood? While it may not be technically or outright refuse to share the recipe for impossible, logistically, I foresee a few their frosted lemon bars? Will there be snags. a probationary rehab period, or would a First of all, how nice are we talkSue Murphy Worldwide Van Lines truck show up in ing? I mean, there’s nice and then your driveway the very next day? there’s nice. Would Mr. Leigh settle for Is the nice-only concept even no murder/stealing/lying nice or will Is the nice-only legal? Would it bring up not-nice carrying 12 items in the 10-itemsconcept even legal? affirmative action issues, forcing the and-under line at the grocery store to institute be-nice semisend your application to the circular Would it bring up developers nars or be-nice outreach programs? file? not-nice affirmative Is niceness innate or can it be taught? And what would the application soooo many questions. look like? How does one weed out action issues, forc- I have Since the proposed Niceville the not-so-nice riffraff? A listing of ing the developers development is in New Jersey and name, age and occupation--what don’t plan on moving there any could you tell from that? You’d have to institute be-nice Itime soon, I don’t have to worry to add some sort of psychological seminars or be-nice about my personal niceness quotient, component. An ink blot test? (Does is good because there are days this look like a butterfly or a butcher outreach programs? which when I know I wouldn’t make the knife?) A multiple choice questioncut. Would that mean that my poor naire? (A person cuts you off in trafhusband Harold would be denied as fic. You…) well? Guilt by marital association? If Mr. Leigh is successful, that That doesn’t sound nice. Shouldn’t he get points for havsort of thing won’t happen in Niceville. In a town filled ing put up with me all these years? with gratuitous givers, residents could be stuck at interA neighborhood where only nice people are welsections for hours. (You go. No, you go. No really, I come? Wouldn’t it be nicer if everyone were included? insist. Oh yeah, I’ll insist you one.) Things could get Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled curmudnicely ugly really fast. geons yearning to breathe free and all that? There should And who would make the final nice/not-nice decibe room in this world for everyone, even those of us who sion? Will Mr. Leigh be Niceville’s benevolent dictator occasionally crab and complain. (would there be any other kind?), or would he turn over At least that’s what I tell Harold, poor man. That’s the day-to-day decisions to a democratically-elected probably not nice. ❖ committee? What would the campaign look like? “Vote

over the Mountain Views

What’s your favorite Fourth of July tradition?

“I love watching the fireworks. We used to go watch them over at the Hoover Met. It always brings back a lot of good memories.” Tammy Whetter Hoover

“My favorite is definitely the food. We just bought a barbecue grill, so I’m looking forward to even more good food this year.” Jameal Falah Vestavia Hills

“We go to Gulf Shores every year and watch the fireworks show out of the windows of our condo. We’ve been doing that for about 10 years.” Kathy Davis Hoover

“For me, it’s food and family. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get together and have a good time.” Trey Cotney Homewood

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 3

About Town










Hayden Wald Mike Wald






4 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

About Town


Iron City Showdown

Save the Date Vestavia Hills

Nook Training Class June 27, 3-4 p.m. Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest The Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest will hold Nook training classes from 3-4 p.m. on June 27. The class is free, but space is limited to 10. Sign up for the class at the circulation desk. The library is at 1221 Montgomery Highway. For more information, visit or call 978-0164.

Chefs To Compete in Rotary Fundraiser By Donna Cornelius


Journal Features Writer

estavia Hills Rotary Club members may be shouting—or at least thinking-“Allez cuisine!” on July 13. Those words, which loosely translated from French mean “start cooking,” are the battle cry for contestants in Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” The popular show is the inspiration for Vestavia Rotary’s Iron City Chef fundraiser, which has become quite a hit with Birmingham area foodies. Iron City Chef has been sold out for the past few years, said Kent Howard, event chairman. Jefferson State Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Institute on the college’s ShelbyHoover campus hosts the event, which starts at 6 p.m. Jefferson State, Western Supermarkets and WVTM Alabama’s 13 are the major sponsors. This will be the fifth year for Iron City Chef, Howard said. “For about 24 years, Vestavia Rotary put together a ‘Rotary Roast,’” he said. The roast featured well-known people like sports radio host Paul Finebaum and Bobby Bowden, then Florida State University’s head football coach, Howard said. “It was extremely successful, but we decided we needed to make the transition from roasts, which were becoming more plentiful in the fundraising arena, to something different,” he said. “Scott Huner, who was our president then, had the idea for Iron City Chef.” Huner contacted Joseph Mitchell, program director for Jefferson State’s Culinary and Hospitality Institute, about the idea, Howard said. The club and college have partnered to host the event ever since. Howard said the Rotary competition uses the “Iron Chef America” format but doesn’t exactly duplicate it. In the TV version of the contest,

Culinary Director Touts Local Food Industry Birmingham is a great setting for a cooking competition like Iron City Chef, said Joseph Mitchell, program director for Jefferson State Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Institute. Mitchell, an award-winning chef himself, is instrumental in coordinating the annual fundraiser. It’s set this year for July 13 at 6 p.m. at the college’s Shelby-Hoover campus on Valleydale Road. Mitchell said Birmingham is on “the cutting edge” of the food industry. “There’s been a lot of national coverage devoted to Birmingham food,” Mitchell said. “I think we’re the next up-and-coming food destination.” Chef Frank Stitt, owner of Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega and Chez Fon Fon, is the chief trendsetter for

two chefs test their skills against each other, with a panel of judges selecting the winner. “We get four chefs to participate,” Mitchell said. This year’s lineup includes current Iron City Chef title-holder Jeremy Downey of Bistro V, Sean Butler of Studio B, Haller Magee of Satterfield’s and James Pruitt of Todd English P.U.B. The event begins in the college’s Health Science building’s large multipurpose room, Mitchell said. “Each chef does a savory course and a dessert course,” he said. “Guests get to vote on their favorite table.” The two contestants with the highest number of votes face off in the institute’s pastry kitchen. At this point, the contest resembles another Food Network show, “Chopped,” since the finalists are presented with a basket of mystery ingredients. The finalists must use the ingredients to create a concoction which will wow Iron City Chef judges. “Chopped” often presents contenders with wildly diverse ingredients, such as goat brains and mashed potato candy. Iron City Chef goes a little easier on its contestants. “The mystery ingredient is really the protein—pork tenderloin or poultry, for example,” Mitchell said. Judges critique the final plates and pick the top chef, but Jefferson State culinary students get a chance for some recognition, too. “We pick four or five students to assist each chef,” Mitchell said. “They help out at each chef’s station and assist with serving.” A student sous chef, or chief assistant, is also selected to work with each chef, he said. “That sous chef can get a $1,000 scholarship if his or her chef wins,” Mitchell said. While the cooking competition is the event’s headliner, Iron City Chef has other activities for guests. There’s a silent auction, music by Sweet Birmingham eating establishments, Mitchell said. Among many accolades, Stitt was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2011. “The city often follows the trend of Frank Stitt’s menus—Southern, locally grown and prepared from scratch,” Mitchell said. But while Stitt is a real culinary rock star locally as well as nationally, Birmingham has plenty of talented chefs, Mitchell said. “There are so many different communities in the area, and each has its own unique restaurants,” he said. Mitchell, who has been at Jefferson State for 11 years, has an impressive resume himself. He was the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Institute’s Chef of the Year in 2009. He’s also a Certified Executive Pastry Chef and Certified Culinary Educator with the American Culinary Federation.


The Vestavia Hills Rotary Club is teaming up with Jefferson State Community College’s Culinary and Hospitality Institute for the Iron City Chef fundraiser on July 13. From left: Kent Howard and Joseph Mitchell. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

Licks and a wine tasting sponsored by Western Supermarkets. “Western brings their wine distributors in for this, and the wines are really exceptional,” Howard said. Guests can participate in a “wine pool,” Howard said. “We’ll have 50 bottles of wine, and for a $20 donation you pull a numbered cork and take home the bottle of wine with the matching number,” Howard said. Each bottle will have a retail value of more than $20, with some pricier wines that will give some lucky guests a chance at getting real bargains. Jerry Tracey of Alabama’s 13 WVTM will be master of ceremonies. While only the judges taste the two finalists’ creations, guests can try each chef’s savory dishes and desserts. Howard said Vestavia Rotary tries to make the $55 cost for tickets a good value for guests. “For the money, the food is outstanding, and there’s wine to boot,” he said. “Every year, we’re conscious that we’re competing with other fundraising events, so we try to build the value.” Corporate sponsorships for the event are available at two levels. For $400, table sponsors get four tickets, reserved seating and four raffle tickets. The $800 table sponsorship includes He moved to Birmingham from Nashville, where he was lead pastry chef at the Opryland Hotel and executive pastry chef at Belle Meade Country Club and at Mario’s Ristorante. Now, as a culinary program director, he’s using his knowledge and experience to make sure future chefs go into professional settings with the training they need. “This is the longest-running culinary program in Alabama,” Mitchell said. Jefferson State offers a degree with four options: culinary apprentice, food service/culinary management, baking/ pastry and hotel-motel management. While the growing television presence of Food Network has helped draw young people to cooking, Mitchell said, there’s a downside. “It attracts people, but it gives us extra homework,” he said. “To work as a chef is popular now. We have to make it clear that it’s possible to be a

eight tickets, reserved seating and eight raffle tickets. Howard said Vestavia Rotary has two groups. The Noon Club has about 70 members, he said, while the Sunrise Club has about 30 members. Iron City Chef has raised more than $700,000 since it started, Howard said. Proceeds support Vestavia Hills High School’s math and debate programs, a scholarship for a Jefferson State culinary student, the local Rotary district’s disaster relief fund and Rotary International charities like End Polio Now and Clean Water for the World, he said. The event’s sold-out status over the past few years is largely due to community support, he said. “It’s indicative of the generosity of the businesses and people in this area,” Howard said. Mitchell said the participating chefs are aware they’re competing to help a good cause—but that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying hard to earn the Iron City Chef title. “It’s good-natured—but it’s competitive. They all want to win,” Mitchell said. For tickets and more information, visit Call Howard at 913-1941 for sponsorship information. ❖ ‘celebrity chef’ but only after years and years of hard work. We try to keep our program as realistic and grounded as possible.” Recently, Mitchell has turned his attention to food that’s healthy as well as delicious. “My background is culinary and not in dietetics, and I kept getting requests to speak about nutrition,” he said. He’s now pursuing a doctorate degree at Auburn University and concentrating his studies on integrating nutrition into post-secondary curricula, he said. “Foods have to taste good as well as be healthy, or people are not going to eat them,” Mitchell said. He said many Birmingham chefs and diners are following the national farmto-table movement, which emphasizes fresh food that’s locally grown. “I see that as only continuing to accelerate,” he said. --Donna Cornelius

Summer Concert Series June 27, 6-8 p.m. Aldridge Gardens Earl Williams and The Juke Band and Gip Gipson will perform from 6-8 p.m. on June 27 at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover as part of the summer concert series. Williams is widely known for his electrifying guitar and harmonica sounds and Gipson has been entertaining crowds with his backyard blues parties for more than 60 years. The performance will be under the pavilion at the gardens, located off Lorna Road. Bring a picnic dinner, refreshments, blankets and chairs. Tickets are $10 for members and $20 for non-members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 682-8019. Birmingham

Magic City Chocolate Challenge June 27, 5-9 p.m. Cantina Pepper Place The first Magic City Chocolate Challenge will be from 5-9 p.m. on June 27 at Cantina Pepper Place. Presented by the Disability Rights and Resources’ Junior Board, the event will include samplings of chocolate from all of the chocolate competitors and happy hour drink prices. Proceeds will go towards a new facility in the Civil Rights District that welcomes people with disabilities and provides them with resources for independent living. Tickets are $25. Cantina Pepper Place is at 2901 Second Ave. South, #110. For more information, visit Vestavia Hills

Elder Abuse Awareness Conference June 28, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Vestavia Hills Civic Center The Jefferson County Extension Office will present the Elder Abuse Awareness Conference on June 28 at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. The event will include guest speakers from the state Department of Senior Services, the state Securities Commission and others. The event will include a free continental breakfast, door prizes, lunch and information from vendors. For more information, contact Cynthia Whittaker at 325-5342, extension 33. Birmingham

MOP Summer Concert June 28, 6 p.m. Phillips Academy The Music Opportunity Program will hold its summer concert at 6 p.m. on June 28 at Phillips Academy, 2316 Seventh Avenue North. The concert will feature chamber groups and the new members of the Birmingham String Orchestra. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 5

About Town


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Over the Mountain Journal - Full Page (10.375 x 12.5)

6 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

About Town Hoover

Grace Pettis in Concert June 28, 7:30 p.m. Moonlight on the Mountain Grace Pettis will perform at Moonlight on the Mountain in Bluff Park in Hoover at 7:30 p.m. on June 28. Pettis is an award-winning musician and has two albums. Moonlight on the Mountain is at 585 Shades Crest Road. For more information, visit or

pooch patio party


The Animal League of Birmingham will present its Bark After Dark fundraiser in Vestavia Hills on July 20. From left: Donna McFeeters, Inga Clum and Sandra Varallo with Bianci. Photo special to The Journal

Ancient Forests of Alabama Class June 29, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens The Birmingham Botanical Gardens will present a class on the ancient forests of Alabama from 12:30-4:30 p.m. on June 29. The class will include information on the giant club mosses and horsetails that once dominated the state’s landscape. There will also be examinations of fossils. The class is $40 for members and $45 for non-members. For more information, visit www. or call 414-3950.

Vestavia Hills


Bark After Dark July 20, 5-8 p.m. Yankee Pizzeria The Animal League of Birmingham will present the Bark After Dark fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. on July 20 at Yankee Pizzeria, 3144 Heights Village in Cahaba Heights. Those attending are invited to bring their pets and families and hang out on the pooch patio to enjoy music, food and drink specials, raffle and door prizes. Proceeds will benefit The Animal League of Birmingham, a volunteer nonprofit that raises money for animal rescues and small animal shelters. Admission to the event is free but donations at the door are appreciated. For more information, visit www.❖

Summer Soiree June 30, 3-6 p.m. Avondale Villa The Magic City Choral Society will hold its annual Summer Soiree from 3-6 p.m. on June 30 at Avondale Villa. The beach party-themed event will feature live music from the Magic City Choral Society Beach Singers and an open beer, wine and pina colada bar. The event’s honorary chairmen are Karen Musgrove and John Edward Hurley. For more information, visit www.

OVER THE MOUNTAIN Journal Mountain Brook

Brown Bag Lunch Program on George Washington July 3, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Emmet O’Neal Library Learn about the country’s first president just in time for Independence Day at the Brown Bag Lunch program on George Washington at the Emmet O’Neal Library on July 3. Doors open at noon, and the program begins at 12:30 p.m. Bring a sack lunch. Drinks and desserts will be provided For more information, call the library’s reference desk at 445-1121. Vestavia Hills

“The Secret Garden” July 3, 10:30-11:15 a.m. Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Hampstead Stage Co. will bring “The Secret Garden” to the outdoor amphitheater at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest on July 3. The classic family favorite will be presented against the forest backdrop at the library from 10:30-11:15 a.m. In case of inclement weather, the program will be held in the library’s community room. This is a free program. For more information, visit or call 978-0158. North Shelby

Nature Scavenger Hunt July 6, 10 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park Head out to Oak Mountain State Park on July 6 for a nature scavenger hunt. The hunt will start at 10 a.m. at the campground pavilion. The program is free after park admission, which ranges from $1-$3. The park is at 200 Terrace Drive in Pelham. For more information, call 620-2520. Homewood


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Indian Cuisine with Chef “E” July 8, 6 p.m. Homewood Public Library During the second series featuring food from around the world at the Homewood Public Library, Chef “E” will teach participants basic steps for making and preparing Indian food. The program at 6 p.m. on July 8 will also introduce Chef “E” participants to the slow food movement’s philosophy of homegrown ingredients and family participation in meal preparation. The event is free, but reservations are required. For more information, contact Leslie West at or 332-6620. Hoover

Meet the Artist Reception July 11, 5-7 p.m. Aldridge Gardens Artist Daniel Moore, known for his Alabama Crimson Tide paintings, will have a one-man art exhibition at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover July 9-Aug. 30 with a Meet the Artist reception from 5-7 p.m. on July 11. The event is free and open to the public. The gallery is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, visit or call 682-8019.


Soiree@SoHo July 11, 6-9 p.m. Rosewood Hall The Girl Scouts Young Philanthropists Society will host the fourth annual Soiree@SoHo at Rosewood Hall in SoHo Square from 6-9 p.m. on July 11. The event will include food, drinks, music and a silent auction. A fashion show on the Role Model Runway will feature the season’s hottest fashions. Proceeds will help girls across NorthCentral Alabama participate in Girl Scout programs. Tickets are $25. Rosewood Hall is at 19th St. South in Homewood. For more information, visit girlscoutsnca. org or call 453-9530. Vestavia Hills

Outdoor Summer Concert Series July 12, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest The Hunter Lawley Band will perform at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest on July 12 as part of the Outdoor Summer Concert Series. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is free. For more information, visit or call 978-4678. Vestavia Hills

Artists Incorporated Reception July 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Artists Incorporated Gallery Artists Incorporated Gallery will hold a reception to welcome Larry Allen, a nationally-known potter. Allen will be the featured artist for the month of July. The reception will be from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on July 12. The gallery is located at 3365 Morgan Drive in Vestavia Hills. For more information, visit www. or call 9798990. Birmingham

McWane Center Birthday Party July 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. McWane Science Center The McWane Science Center is celebrating its 15th birthday on July 13 with a rocking party featuring Travis Taylor, star of National Geographic’s hit show “Rocket City Rednecks.” The event will include rock climbing, rock music and rock candy. For the event, the center is offering $15 off all memberships. Admission for nonmembers is $12 for adults and $9 for ages 2-12 and those over 65. There is an additional charge for the IMAX film. For more information, visit www. or call 714-8300. Birmingham

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” July 18-28 Virginia Samford Theatre Cool off in July with Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” featuring some of Birmingham’s best young stage talent at Virginia Samford Theatre. Tickets are $25 for adults and students and $15 for groups of 10 or more. The box office opens one hour prior to performances. There will be a 15-minute intermission. Show times are 7:30-9:30 pm. on July 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 with shows at 2:30 p.m. on July 20, 21, 27 and 28. Virginia Samford Theatre is at 1116 26th St. South. For more information, visit or call 251-1206. Birmingham

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

People Notes

July 19-21 Red Mountain Theatre The Red Mountain Theatre Company will present the children’s version of a Disney classic with “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” July 19-21. The tale is as old as time but the actors are about 12 years old. Tickets are $20. Show times are 2-4:30 p.m. July 20 and 21 and 7:30-10 p.m. July 19-21. For more information, visit www. or call 3242424.

The Homewood Arts Council has named its new officers. Front: Jennifer Wallis. Back, from left: Diane Litsey, Caroline Hubbard and Jennifer Warren.


International Festival July 20 Birmingham Zoo The Birmingham Zoo will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement on July 20. The event will include a look at the zoo’s progression over the years with a focus on historical moments at the zoo and all over the world, highlighting Japan, India and South Africa. Food tastings, a wildlife show and other activities are included in the price of admission. Birmingham

Y’all Connect Digital Conference July 23 BJCC East Meeting Rooms Y’all Connect, a digital conference for corporate storytelling, is July 23 at the BJCC East Meeting Rooms, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North in downtown Birmingham. The conference will include guest speakers James Spann, Ike Pigott, James Spann Mack Collier, Mitch Canter, Nichole Kelly, Shelly Kramer, Erika Napoleteno, Jenny Schmidt, Peter Shankman and Andrea Weckerle. Tickets are $129 and include the conference, two parties, two meals and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 7

about town/people


blessed me with the opportunity to serve as the newest pastor of Meadow Brook Baptist Church,” Jones said. “With great joy, I anticipate the continued work and love of God in this church and in north Shelby County.” Meadow Brook Baptist Church is a fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and part of the Shelby Baptist Association. The church, located at 4984 Meadow Brook Road, has been a part of the community for more than three decades.

Judson Honors Locals Local students were inducted into honor societies at Judson College’s spring Honors Convocation. Kathryn Hamner of Hoover and Hannah Patterson of Mountain Brook were inducted into the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society. Beth Lang of Birmingham was inducted into the Kappa Delta Epsilon Education Honor Society.

More People News on Page 13

Photo special to The Journal

Homewood Arts Council Selects New Officers The Homewood Arts Council recently named its new officers and is looking to fill vacancies as it continues its mission “to support and encourage community art experiences for a creative, diverse and vibrant Homewood.” Its members said they believe art is a vital source of energy and inspiration for the whole community.  Those currently serving on the Arts Council include Caroline Hubbard, chairman (Ward 3), Diane Litsey, vicechairman (Ward 4), Jennifer Warren, secretary of the arts (at-large) and Jenifer Wallis, City Council liaison.  Members said they are excited about developing more arts programs and events for the city and are looking for new members who feel the same way to fill the three remaining ward vacancies.  Those living in Ward 1, Ward 2 or Ward 5 can send a cover letter and resume to City Clerk Linda Cook

at For more information on the Homewood Arts Council, email

Jones Has New Role at Meadow Brook Baptist Chris Jones began his new role as senior pastor at Meadow Brook Baptist Church May 1 after serving as the church’s youth pastor for two years. Jones is originally from Jonesboro, Ark. He and his wife, Ashley, moved to Birmingham in 2007 after he finished his master of divinity degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. Their daughter, Kinsley, was born in 2011. “I am delighted that God has Chris Jones

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Over the Mountain Office 1220 Alford Avenue • 205.281.4731


“Cinderella” July 23- Aug. 3 Birmingham Children’s Theatre Head out to the Birmingham Children’s Theatre July 23-Aug. 3 to see a classic fairytale brought to life. The BCT will present “Cinderella” in a show recommended for ages 2-6. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Show times are 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day. For more information, visit or call 458-8181. Hoover

Lou Rawls Review Concert July 25, 6-8 p.m. Aldridge Gardens The summer concert series at Aldridge Gardens heats up July 25 with the Lou Rawls Review concert with Bo Barry, Tommy Stewart and JJ Patterson. The event is from 6-8 p.m. at 3520 Lorna Road in Hoover. Tickets are $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers. For more information, visit or call 682-8019.❖

To: From: Date:

987-3516 Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax June 2013

This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Journal for the June 27, 2013 issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to a your ad or make changes. You may 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.

8 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fourth fun


Starting the Fourth with a Bang Vestavia Kicks Off Independence Day Celebrations with Annual Event

By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

he Vestavia Hills Parks and Recreation Department and the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce will kick off Independence Day celebrations in the Over the Mountain and surrounding areas. Events this year will include fireworks shows, historical re-enactments, wine tastings, free concerts and more. The 32nd annual “I Love America” Summer Celebration Series in Vestavia Hills starts on July 3 with free swimming at Wald Park on U.S. 31 from 6-7:30 p.m. and children’s activities presented by Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church from 6-8 p.m. There will also be a business expo from 6-8 p.m. on July 3. The Shades Mountain Baptist Church Orchestra will present “Pops in the Park,” a concert of patriotic and pop favorites, at 7 p.m. A movie showing of the family-friendly film “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” begins at dusk, about 8 p.m., capping off the first day of the Independence Day celebration. The second event of this year’s “I Love America” series is Aug. 16 at Wald Park. The August event will include free swimming from 6-7:30 p.m. and a business expo and children’s activities from 6-8 p.m. At about 8 p.m., the movie “The Croods” will be shown. For more information on the “I Love America” Summer Celebration Series, visit or call 823-5011. Additional Fourth of July celebration events in the area include:

Photo special to the Journal


Freedom Fest July 4, 5-10 p.m. Hoover Met The City of Hoover will present a free Fourth of July celebration for the whole family with Freedom Fest at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The event is from 6-10 p.m. on July 4. Gates will open at 5 p.m. There will be a car show


Big Kaboom July 4, 8 p.m. Chelsea Park The City of Chelsea will hold its seventh annual Big Kaboom Fireworks Celebration. The event will feature entertainment by local musical artists starting at 8 p.m. and fireworks at the Chelsea Park subdivision and Chelsea water tower starting at 9 p.m. For more information, visit or call 678-8455. Harpersville

Organizers are getting ready for the 32nd annual “I Love America” celebration in Vestavia Hills. Front, from left: Shannon Powell, Ann Hamiter, Katie Woodruff and Linda Parker. Back: Sam Duffey, Angie McEwen, Karen Odle, Scott Perry and Martha Cook. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel Birmingham

in the stadium parking lot. Music by several performers, including Three on a String, will be from 6-9 p.m. A fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. Concession stands will be open for food purchases. For more information, visit or call 739-7361 or 739-7362. North Shelby

32nd Annual Peavine Falls Run July 4, 6:30 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park The Birmingham Track Club will present the 32nd annual Peavine Falls Run on July 4 at Oak Mountain State Park. The 8.2-mile out-andback run starts at the Dogwood Pavilion and runs 3.5 miles to the Peavine Falls parking lot. The return trip is on the same road but takes a scenic 1.2-mile single track detour back to the picnic area. The race begins at 7 a.m. Walkers are also welcome and will start at 6:30 a.m. Admission is $10. Oak Mountain State Park is at 200 Terrace Drive in Pelham. For more information or to register for the run, visit www. Homewood

Three on a String will perform at Hoover’s Freedom Fest on July 4.

from $1-$3. The event will be held at the campground pavilion. The park is at 200 Terrace Drive, Pelham. For more information, call 620-2520.

Fourth of July Festival July 4, 5:30-9 p.m. Downtown Homewood The City of Homewood and the Homewood Parks and Recreation Board will celebrate the Fourth of July in downtown Homewood from 5:30-9 p.m. Downtown area streets will be closed to vehicles to make way for pedestrian traffic. The event will include inflatables and rides for children of all ages, DJ music and other activities. Admission is free, but wristbands for unlimited rides must be purchased for rides and attractions. Proceeds will benefit the Homewood High School Band as it prepares to perform in the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade in California. For more information, contact Rusty Holley at rusty.holley@

The Independence Day celebration at American Village in Montevallo will conclude with a fireworks show. Photo special to The Journal


Celebrate Independence Day 1776 July 4, 11 a.m. American Village Take a trip back in time this Fourth of July by celebrating Independence Day at American Village in Montevallo. The Celebrate Independence Day 1776 event runs from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on July 4. Gates open at 11 a.m., and events begin at noon. Full Moon BBQ and other vendors will offer food for sale. Throughout the day, costumed historical interpreters will tell the story of the nation’s founding. There will also be Revolutionary Army drills and a chance to play 18th-century games. The event ends with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 but free for ages 4 and younger, active military personnel and veterans. American Village is at 3727 Highway 119. For more information, visit or call 6653565, extension 1301.

Thunder on the Mountain July 4, 9-9:30 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum Thunder on the Mountain will once again illuminate the skies above Vulcan. Free to the public, this year’s fireworks show will last about 20 minutes and include a variety of firework shells that will brighten the sky with new colors and patterns. The show will be choreographed to a musical soundtrack featuring a mix of patriotic favorites and popular musical performances. Prime viewing locations include Five Points South, Homewood, Vestavia, Mountain Brook and the UAB campus. Organizers are advising spectators to stake out a viewing point well in advance of the 9 p.m. show. For more information, visit Birmingham

SE Outings Potluck Dessert Get-Together July 4 Bartow Arena Park Southeastern Outings will hold a potluck dessert get-together in Bartow Arena Park following the UAB Summer Band’s Independence Day Concert and the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show. Those attending are encouraged to bring a friend, a dessert and nonalcoholic drinks. Southeastern Outings will provide plates, napkins, forks and spoons. This is a free event. For more information, contact Dan Frederick at or at 6314680.

Music and Fireworks in the Vineyards July 4, 6-9:30 p.m. Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery Morgan Creek in Harpersville will host Music and Fireworks in the Vineyards July 4 from 6-9:30 p.m. The event will include live music by local performers. Tours and wine tasting will be available, but the event is family-friendly. The celebration will end with fireworks at 9 p.m. Those attending may bring picnic baskets, blankets and lawn chairs. Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery is at 181 Morgan Creek Lane in Harpersville. For more information, visit or call 672-2053. Birmingham

UAB Summer Band Independence Day Concert July 4, 7:30 p.m. Bartow Arena Park The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Summer Band will perform a free Fourth of July concert at 7:30 p.m. on July 4 at Bartow Arena Park. The band will perform patriotic standards and favorites, show tunes and Broadway classics. The UAB Summer Band includes adult amateur musicians from various professions as well as current UAB student musicians, faculty members and area professionals who come together each year for the July 4 concert. This year’s concert will feature Antoinette Sands, vocalist, and Denise Gainey, clarinetist. Those attending will have the chance to conduct the band playing “Stars and Stripes Forever” for the grand finale. The concert will be conducted by UAB Music’s Sue Samuels, director of bands. Concertgoers should bring their own blankets and chairs. For more information, visit or call 934-7376. ❖

North Shelby

Fourth of July Crafts July 5, 10 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park Independence Day fun continues on July 5 at Oak Mountain State Park with flag making and a Fourth of July crafts session. The 10 a.m. event is free after park admission, which ranges

Denise Gainey will perform with the UAB Summer Band during a special Fourth of July concert in Birmingham. Photo special to the Journal


Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 9

fourth fun The gym will open at 8 a.m. for the first 400 people who donate $5 for early bird admission tickets. Otherwise, shoppers can enter the gym at 9 a.m., Falconer said. The goal is to raise $66,000 through this year’s rummage sale, she said.

The menu for the festival includes plates of pork, beef, ribs or chicken along with beans, slaw and bread. Those attending the festival can also get hotdogs, smoked sausage and pork sandwiches.

Organizers of the 64th annual Independence Day Festival at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood are ready to fire up the grill. From left: Greg Pierre, Jim Waligora, Phillip Criswell, Mark Stephens and Joe Falconer. Photo special to The Journal

Red, White and Blue Barbecue OLS Hosts Birmingham’s Oldest July 4 Festival

By Keysha Drexel

The festival will be on the church grounds at 1728 Oxmoor Road, Homewood. For more information on the rummage sale, visit OLSTrashAndTreasure. For details on the Independence Day Festival, call the church at 871-8121. ❖

AndreA TrAinA PrivATe iTAliAn lAnguAge TuTor • PrivATe Tour guide for iTAly • TrAvel PlAnner

table endeavors of the Knights of Festival organizers have been learn italian and visit italy with Columbus. AndreA TrAinA conducting a shoe drive for several The KnightsiTAliAn plan to cook about months in preparation for the July PrivATe lAnguAge TuTor a native italian! 5,000 pounds of meat for guests to 4 sale, Falconer said. She said hunolunteers at a Homewood PrivATe Tour guide for iTAly •TrAvel PlAnner enjoy under a huge tent, in the Parish dreds of pairs of donated shoes have church are busy putting Hall or at home, according to Joe been repaired learn italian and visit italy with a native italian!and spruced up at the their plans together for the Falconer, barbecue chairman for the Homewood Shoe Hospital. Birmingham metro area’s oldest • Tailored Lessons for all ages “We have a very well run, very event. Independence Day festival. Bulk meat sales will or be Group available • Individual Lessons organized setup, and it’s merchanThe 64th annual Our Lady in the school cafeteria during theand fes- Pricing dised to the hilt,” she said. • Flexible Scheduling of Sorrows Catholic Church tival. On July 3, bulk meat sales will The rummage sale’s furniture Independence Day Festival will kick • Tailored Lessons run fromemail: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. offerings will be expanded this year, off at 10 a.m. and run through 3 p.m. for all ages The menu for the festival includes Falconer said. The furniture will be Cell phone: (305)876-3040 • on July 4. • Individual or Group Lessons plates of pork, beef, ribs or chicken sold under a 4,800-square-foot tent The celebration will include plenty • Flexible Scheduling along with beans, slaw and bread. that is 50 percent larger than the tent of barbecue, a raffle, live entertainand Pricing Those attending the festival can also used last year. ment from Bobby “T” Tanory, a cake get hotdogs, smoked sausage and Falconer said the tent will hold walk, doll walk, games and activities pork sandwiches. hundreds of furniture items, rugs, for all ages and the popular Trash ’n’ email: Festival guests will also have a decorative pillows, lamps and floral Treasure rummage sale. Cell phone: (305)876-3040 chance to win six raffle prizes this arrangements. There will also be a This year, Rev. Msgr. Martin year. bargain corner in the furniture tent. Muller, OLS pastor, is the grand The grand prize is $5,000 cash, marshal of the festival, which is coorand first prize is $2,000 cash. The second-place raffle winner will receive a 1-carat diamond ring Need some sparklers for the Fourth? OLS July 4 Festival in yellow and white gold that has a When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. retail value of $1,000. The ring was Where: Our Lady donated by the Foreman family at of Sorrows Catholic Crown Jewelers. Church, 1728 Oxmoor Third prize in the raffle is $1,000, Road,Homewood the fourth-place winner will To: and Andrea Details: The event will receive a VIP donated by 205-823-9646 ph., From: Over Theweekend Mountain Journal, include food, games and Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort 205-824-1246, fax activities for all ages plus a and Spa. Date: Mayfifth 2013 cake walk, raffle prizes, live The prize is Mattress Firm

Huge July Sale!

Biggest Sale of the Year!


Journal editor

entertainment and the Trash ’n’ Treasure rummage sale with a whole tent just for furniture. More info: www.facebook. com/OLSTrashAndTreasure or call 871-8121.

dinated by the Knights of Columbus Council #4304. Festival proceeds will help the OLS building fund, OLS school, special charities and the chari-

CoconutThis Blissispillows donated by from the Over The MOunTAin JOurnAl for the your AD prOOF Keith Remke. Sixth prize is an iPad May 30, 2013 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. donated by the OLS Knights of Columbus Council #4304. sure all information is correct, Those whoplease would like tomake get a bargain while they celebrate including address and phone number! Independence Day can check out the annual Trash ’n’ Treasure rummage please initial and fax back within 24 hours. sale. if wewill have heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, The gym at OLS benot chockyour ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. full of household items, clothing, Thanktoyou for your prompt attention. collectibles and more, according Park South Plaza • 1425 Montgomery Hwy., Suite 111 Melanie Falconer, rummage sale chairman. Mon.-Fri. 9 - 6 • Sat. 10-3 • (205) 822-9173

All Month Long Both Locations!

Hoover Antique GAllery 3411 old Columbiana road, Hoover 822-9500

urbAn SuburbAn AntiqueS 5514 Crestwood blvd, 592-0777


10 • Thursday, June 27 , 2013


New Lighting System will Save City About $8 Million u Vestavia Hills

By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

By fall, all Vestavia Hills athletic fields should be equipped with new, energy-efficient lighting. The City Council recently approved a $4.5 million bond it received through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The 20-year bond comes with such a low interest rate-.0075--that it’s virtually interest free, city officials say. The funds will be used to equip Wald Park, Liberty Park and the city’s fields behind Cahaba Heights Elementary School with energy-efficient lighting, city officials say.  The fields at the city’s newest park off Sicard Hollow Road already have energy-efficient lighting, said Mayor

Promise Home, From Page 1

The Promise Home is Bluff Park United Methodist Church’s ministry to the disabled community, particularly to adults with autism. The church, through its volunteer missions group and the help of other Methodist congregations, raised funds and built the 4,000 square-foot, $450,000 group home with six bedrooms and six private bathrooms to house six adults with disabilities. Bluff Park United Methodist has partnered with the Glenwood Inc. Autism and Behavioral Health Center to run the facility, which is scheduled to open in early July, said Rev. Reid Crotty, who recently retired as the

‘... they will bring far more to us than we give to them, and they will enrich our congregation in so many ways ...’ Rev. Reid Crotty, Bluff Park UMC

church’s senior minister. “We had some property behind our church that wasn’t being used, and we thought about what would be a good use for that,” he said. Glenwood will provide 24-hour on-site management of the home. Glenwood is a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health care and educational services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and severe emotional disturbances. Autism is a development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and stereotyped behavior patterns. Sherri Van Pelt, Glenwood’s vice president for development and commu-

Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza. Brian Davis, director of public services, said over the next few months, the city will replace about 1,400 older light bulbs with about 750 high-efficiency lights. The city will also replace all wooden poles with concrete poles, on which lights will be mounted, Davis said. “We’re cutting our light bulbs almost in half,” he said. The new lighting system will save the city about $8 million over the life of the bond, Davis said. Those costs include about $3.2 million in energy efficiency, $3.2 million in operational, $500,000 in capital costs and $400,000 in maintenance, Davis added.  “Currently, we spend money every year replacing bulbs and redirecting lights that get damaged during windstorms,” Davis said. “These new

lights are going to have a 10-year warrant on them if we’re replacing the lights and not the poles. We’re not going to have to redirect the lights. We’re not going to have to replace the light bulbs. That’s a 10-year warranty deal where we won’t have any maintenance on them, basically.” The lights at the Cahaba Heights field will have a 25-year-warranty on them, Davis added. Zaragoza said the new lighting system will eliminate the need for city employees to drive to a particular location to turn lights on or off. The lights will be operated by a computer stationed at a remote location.  “We hope by just turning them off instead of having to wait 30 minutes for a guy to drive to Cahaba Heights or Liberty Park or Wald Park and turn the lights off, it cuts down on some expenses,” the mayor said. ❖

nications, said with the growing diagnosis of autism among U.S. population, the need for such facilities is crucial. When Glenwood began its services to the autism community in 1974, one in 10,000 people would be diagnosed with the disorder, Van Pelt said. Now that rate is one in 88, she said. “When those people age out and become adults, there becomes a greater need to have (permanent) care for adults with disabilities,” Van Pelt said. “The need is tremendous. I think the need is going to grow.” Glenwood currently serves more than 50 adults with autism in 12 residential programs, according to Glenwood officials. Glenwood officials said there are only about 40 residential programs nationwide specifically for adults with autism. “It will be our nicest home,” said Lee Yount, Glenwood’s chief executive officer. “We don’t have a home that has private bedrooms and bathrooms for every single resident who lives there. So it’s such an incredible gift. It’s truly a Godsend.” Crotty said the church’s decision to build a group home is an outgrowth of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church’s overall ministry to the mental health community. “The residential care of mental and disabled people has been an interest of this church. There are just so many people who need facilities like this,” he said. “As you can imagine, it’s expensive to provide this kind of care. It’s just an enormous need for it.” Bluff Park United Methodist began building the home last summer, Crotty said. The June 9 ribbon-cutting ceremony not only marked the official dedication of the home but the beginning of a long-term relationship between the

church and autistic residents, Van Pelt said. “That is why this is such a special gift, because people living there can attend worship there if they choose to do so,” Van Pelt said. “They will have an opportunity for fellowship and community activities that so many of our adults with disabilities would not normally have the opportunity to participate in. “It’s important for all of us as human beings to interact and relate to other people and to have meaningful activity in a community. And for people with autism, sometimes those social interactions are much more of a challenge, so this is a great opportunity to have that experience built into their lifestyle.” Crotty said he expects the congregation to benefit from the presence of the home. “We look to forward getting to know the residents who live here,” he said. “And believe me, they will bring far more to us than we give to them, and they will enrich our congregation in so many ways, making us a more loving congregation and fellowship.” Austin’s brother, Aaron Thrasher, 30, said the Promise Home is the type of home his late parents wanted for Austin. Austin currently shares an apartment with another autistic resident. They share a bathroom even though they have separate bedrooms. Austin’s new accommodations will give him more personal space and privacy as well as more one-on-one interaction with the staff, his brother said.   “It will teach him to be more independent,” Aaron said. “That’s really what he wants. That’s really all Austin wants. I’m just really happy for Austin.” ❖

The Over the Mountain Optimist Club recently honored law enforcement officers for their outstanding service. From left: Detective Austin Tubb, Officer John Penrose, Officer Jeremiah Mote and State Trooper John Brummitt. Photo special to The Journal

u over the mountain

Optimist Club Honors OTM Law Enforcement Officers The Over the Mountain Optimist Club recently honored four law enforcement officers for their outstanding service. The recognition ceremony was held in conjunction with Optimist International’s Respect for the Law Week in May. State Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin was the guest speaker at the dinner, which was held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Vestavia Hills. The officers honored were Detective Austin Tubb, Officer John Penrose, Officer Jeremiah Mote and State Trooper Jon Brummitt. Tubb, a detective with the Hoover Police Department, was recognized for carrying an extremely heavy case load and obtaining 169 felony warrants in 2012. Penrose of the Vestavia Hills Police Department was honored for his rapid response to an attempted forgery at a local bank. His arrest of the offender cleared up about 100 pending cases throughout the Southeast. Mote of the Homewood Police Department was recognized for excellence in several assignments, including his duties as patrol officer, tactical team officer and motor scout. Mote is also one of two K9 officers at the Homewood Police Department. Brummitt, an Alabama State Trooper, was recognized for removing 14 people with felony warrants from the highway and making eight felony arrests and 15 drug arrests. Each officer was presented with an engraved shield in recognition of his accomplishments. ❖ u Homewood

Work Continues on New $16.2 Million Rec Center Homewood residents can now get updates on the progress of the construction of the city’s new $16.2 million recreation center online and through Twitter. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is posting updates online and on its Twitter account as construction of the new 51,829-squarefoot recreation center off Oxmoor Road and Central Avenue. Earlier this year, the city demolished the 40-year-old recreation center at that location to make way for the new center. The new facility is scheduled to be complete by spring of 2014. Park officials have been championing a new recreation center for nearly three years, saying the current facility is more than 40 years old and that it would cost too much to continue pouring money into it through additional renovations. The parks board held public hearings about its plans, but some residents questioned whether the parks board had adequately sought public input on

the project and whether the city needs to spend so much money on a new recreation center when other capital needs, such as a new police station and jail facility, exist. For the latest on the construction of the new recreation center, visit

u Mountain Brook

Search on for New Principal at High School

Mountain Brook High School is looking for a new principal. Its former principal, Paul “Vic” Wilson, has been named the new superintendent for the Hartselle city school system. Wilson was expected to start his new job July 1. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Samford University. He also received his doctorate in education from Samford. Wilson will replace Mike Reid, who has been with the Hartselle city school system for eight years. --William C. Singleton III

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 11



u Vestavia Hills

City Deals with Unsafe, Blighted Homes By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor

The city of Vestavia Hills has been on a tear ridding itself of unsafe and blighted houses in its community. Since the City Council last January strengthened an ordinance to make it easier to remove unsafe structures, the city has seen 11 homes torn down because of blighted or unsafe conditions. The city has demolished only one of those homes with the others having been removed by property owners, said Keith Blanton, building official for the city of Vestavia Hills.  The city has been successful in getting six homes repaired rather than removed, and at least nine others are “still active,” meaning the city has identified them as properties that need to be fixed up or removed. “We don’t have it all cleaned up, but we feel like we’re continuing to move forward,” said Vestavia Hills Mayor Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza.   The council enacted the city’s dangerous buildings and unsafe structures ordinance as a result of the April 27, 2011 storms that left many damaged homes across central Alabama and in Vestavia Hills’ Cahaba Heights section. City officials said many residents have worked diligently to repair their homes. However, some residents have let their damaged homes languish to become eyesores to their neighborhoods and communities and to become potential magnets for varmints and vagrants. “Your council was extremely patient. And before they adopted this program, they tried to work for a year following the tornado to be sure people were working with their insurance companies (to restore their homes),” said Ben Goldman, an attorney representing the city in condemnation and removal of unsafe, blighted structures. “These are really the exceptions that

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Conveniently located just off Hwy 31, behind Walgreens fOR AN APPOINTMENT, CALL 205.871.7 746 Top: Vestavia Hills is being aggresive about ridding the city of blighted and unsafe homes like this house on Mountainside Road. Above: The house was torn down by the city and the lot was levelled to make way for a new home. Photos special to The Journal

after a year plus following the tornadoes haven’t been remediated.” Goldman displayed a list of those properties with before-and-after pictures at a recent council meeting. Goldman noted that the building inspections department, particularly Blanton, has done a good job getting homeowners to clean their properties and restore their homes.

In cases where homes have been torn down and removed, the lots have been prepared for construction of another home. “All the lots you’ll see are ready to go and to be put back to use,” Goldman said. “They are shovelready. Vestavia is an inviting place, and we want people to come and put these lots back to use.” ❖


12 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where There’s Smoke Barbecue Team Tries to Cook Up Winning Recipes


‘People get really serious. Everybody’s friendly— but they don’t share their secrets.’ Andrew Waits

By Donna Cornelius



Journal Features Writer

ttention amateur grill masters: Ever wanted to pit your skills against the big boys of barbecue in a competitive setting? If so, don’t wrap your contest entries in aluminum foil. Avoid the temptation to garnish your food with the dreaded red-tipped lettuce. And most of all, don’t forget the brisket. Andrew Waits, a Hoover accountant, and his barbecue cooking team had to hone their grill skills before competing in Kansas City Barbeque Society events. But they also had to learn that, hey, even in the laid-back world of outdoor cooking, it pays to follow the rules. The team, called Worth the Waits, competes in events certified by KCBS, which bills itself as the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grill enthusiasts. “Different organizations have different rules,” Waits said. The Niceville, Fla., native was a student at Samford University when the idea to form a competitive barbecue team came up during a conversation with several Pi Kappa Phi pledge brothers, Waits said. Other team members are Tyler Fuqua of Homewood, Heath Tipps of Hoover, Henry Coker of Birmingham and Brian Cook and Justin Knighten of Decatur. “We were sitting around one night and talking and thought, that sounds like a fun thing to do,” he said. “I love to cook. I headed it up and got everything going.” Waits said fellow team member Cook was familiar with Decatur’s Riverfest, which includes a barbecue contest. “Our first competition was in September 2011 at Riverfest,” Waits said. That event, like most contests, has two divisions—professional and backyard. “Backyard is chicken and ribs only,” Waits said. “With professional, you do chicken, ribs, pork and briskets. We decided to compete in the professional category because we wanted to see where we stacked up against the pros.” The team had to familiarize itself with KCBS rules. “At the beginning of the competition, they have meat inspections,” Waits said. “Your meat has to be at a certain temperature and not already cooked—you have to cook it on site.” Teams are assigned numbers, he said. “That’s how they track your team,” Waits said. “It’s for blind judging. Nobody knows who’s cooked what.” Each of the four categories has its own set of judges certified by the KCBS, he said, and teams present their entries in boxes. “The judges just get a taste of your food—you wouldn’t want to eat a full plate of barbecue from every team—so you have to make sure you pack in the flavor,” Waits said. “We use lots of brown sugar with our ribs, for example, to give them a good flavor profile.”

The Worth the Waits barbecue team, from left: Brian Cook, Justin Knighten, Heath Tipps, Tyler Fuqua, Andrew Waits and Henry Coker. Photos special to The Journal

Waits said entries are judged on scale of 1-9, with 9 the highest possible score. Points are deducted, Waits said, for such sins as using aluminum foil in the boxes or, for some reason, including red-tipped lettuce. “You also can’t ‘sculpt’ your meat,” he said. “That’s because judges might be able to identify your food if it was cut a certain way every time.” The Worth the Waits gang learned another lesson: It’s important to enter all four categories. “At our first competition, none of us had ever cooked a brisket,” he said. “With brisket, it’s tough to get the flavor infused. Also, they cost about $40 or $50.” So the team decided to go brisket-less for their competitive cooking debut. “It turned out we were the only ones out of 80 teams not to do a brisket,” Waits said. They soon realized the error of their omission. “People would come up to us and say, ‘You’re the team that didn’t cook a brisket!’” Waits said, laughing. “Also, we came in last because 25 percent of our score was zero.” While Worth the Waits may not have gotten off to an auspicious start, the team improved before its next Riverfest competition. “The second year, we were in the top third in three categories,” he said. Most competitions have entry fees of $300 to $400, Waits said. “But there’s good money to be won,” he said. “You could win $5,000 to $6,000.” There’s an overall winner, Waits said, and winners in each of the four individual categories. Worth the Waits participates in two or three contests a year. “This year, we’ve already done one in Tennessee and will go to Decatur in September and another contest in October,” he said. “The main time for competitions is spring to fall. They have them all over the country, and often they’re held in conjunction with a fair or music festival to attract more people.” These competitions aren’t the kinds often hosted by churches or civic groups where event-goers get to sample the food, Waits said. Only the judges get to taste the barbecue. Waits’ team travels to contests in its camper, taking along grills, several Big Green Eggs and a smoker dubbed “Old Bess.” The group usually arrives at contest sites on Friday for Saturday events.

“On Fridays until about 10 or 11 p.m., it’s fun,” he said. “Then it gets serious. There’s very strict timing. You have to have your chicken ready at noon, ribs at 12:30, pork at 1 and brisket at 1:30.” There’s a lot of prep work. Team member Heath Tipps spends two to three hours just trimming chicken thighs, Waits said. The team uses chicken thighs because “they have more flavor,” Waits said. “And with ribs, most people do spareribs. We do, because they have more fat and are juicier.” While casual cooks often strive for meat that’s falling off the bone, that’s not the case with pros, Waits said. “You want it tender, but not falling off the bone,” he said. “Falling off means you’ve just cooked it until it does that. You have to hit the sweet spot.” The team prepared to enter the competitive barbecuing world by practicing dishes at home and serving them to willing guinea pigs—family and friends. “We tried making our own sauce at first, but there are just so many good ones out there,” Waits said. “You can add to them.” In contests in the Carolinas, he said, people like vinegar-based sauces. “In Alabama and Tennessee, they expect a sweeter sauce,” Waits said. Waits said his team quickly realized that many of their fellow competitors don’t take the contests lightly. “We didn’t know how serious some people are,” Waits said. “Some spend hundreds on their meat alone. People who win compete every weekend. They have fancy equipment. You’d be surprised at all the expensive grills and the RVs they travel in. “People get really serious. Everybody’s friendly—but they don’t share their secrets.” Waits, however, was willing to share some tips for those hoping to cook up some contest-worthy July 4 barbecue. A smoker is a must, he said. “Practice and know how to use your smoker by researching on the internet,” he said. “There are tons of awesome videos on YouTube and websites that give you tips. That really helped me when I was starting out.” Andrew’s other advice includes:

uTry different spices and rubs to see which you like best. uStay in the 200-250 degree range when you’re cooking. uGet a meat thermometer to see how hot your smoker is.

And of course, if you’d like join Waits and his friends at honest-to-goodness competitions, make sure to cook a brisket. ❖

Local Surgeon Chosen as Fellow for Academy Dr. Benton Allen Emblom was inducted as one of 585 new fellows of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on March 22. The ceremony took place at the academy’s 2013 annual meeting in Chicago.  Emblom is an orthopedic surgeon at Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham. To be chosen as a fellow, inductees Benton Emblom had to have completed medical school and five years of specialty study in orthopedics in an accredited residency program, passed a comprehensive oral and written exam and have been certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.  Emblom earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Alabama and a medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. He then completed an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship with Dr. James Andrews at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham and a fellowship in hip arthroscopy with Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville, Tenn. Emblom specializes in arthroscopic and reconstructive procedures on the shoulder, elbow, knee and hip. He also performs clinical and biomechanical research at the American Sports Medicine Institute and is a team physician for the University of Alabama, Samford University and Hoover High School. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, founded in 1933, is the largest medical association for musculoskeletal specialists in the world. 

Former Miss Alabama Earns Another Award Anna Laura Bryan, the 2012 Miss Hoover and former Miss Alabama, is the winner of the 2013 Quality of Life Award. Her winning platform was P.A.W.S. for Autism, People and Animals Working Side-by-side, which works to give autistic people the right to own a pet. She lobbied for this issue and authored the Alabama Legislature House Bill 502 regarding it. The announcement that she had won the $6,000 award Anna Laura Bryan was made at the Miss America press conference at the Planet Hollywood resort in Las Vegas. The Quality of Life Awards recognize contestants who go above and beyond in their devotion to community service.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 13



To qualify for the award, the contestants had to describe on their applications their involvement with Children’s Miracle Network, which is associated with the Miss America Organization, along with their personal platforms. The 2013 Quality of Life Awards were dedicated to Jean Bartel, Miss America 1945, who first introduced the scholarship idea.

Cohen Speaks at UA Anniversary Dinner Mountain Brook native Ross N. Cohen was the keynote speaker at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse School of Accountancy’s Master of Tax Accountancy Anniversary and Reunion dinner. The dinner was April 27 at BryantDenny Stadium.  Cohen, an attorney with Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker LLC, graduated from the first MTA class at the University of Alabama. The class is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.  Cohen is a certified public accountant who participates in numerous tax and estate planning organizations and has been designated as an Accredited Estate Planner Ross Cohen from the National Association of Estate Planning Council. He assists his clients in taxation and tax planning, wealth-transfer planning, estate planning, asset protection planning, corporate law and mergers and acquisitions.  Cohen is also listed in the Best Lawyers in America in Tax Law and Trusts and Estates and in Alabama Super Lawyers.

Alvis Inducted to Trial Lawyers Academy LaBella S. Alvis, an attorney at the Christian & Small law firm, is among the 500 U.S. Fellows invited to join the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. She was inducted at the academy’s annual meeting in Newport Beach, Calif.  Alvis is a 1977 graduate of Auburn University and a 1984 graduate of the Samford University Cumberland School of Law. She practices law in the areas of civil litigation, professional liability and medical malpractice, insurance, labor and employment, and alternative dispute resolution. As a partner of Christian & Small, she represents a diverse clientele throughout the state, the Southeast and the nation.  The International Academy of Trial Lawyers includes prosecutors and defense lawyers in criminal cases as well as, plaintiffs’ and defense counsel in civil litigation. The academy strives to promote reform in the law, facilitate the Administration of Justice, promote the Rule of Law internationally and evaluate the standards of integrity, honor and courtesy in the legal profession.

OTM Residents Inducted into Honor Society Three local students were inducted into Samford University’s chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honor society. Those students were Rachael Anne Greenberg of Mountain Brook and Lynn-Hollyn Tipper Howell and Samuel Kawell, both of Hoover. The Samford ALD honor society recognizes freshmen in the top 20 percent of their class with grade point averages of 3.75 and higher on a 4.00 scale.  “I really appreciate the fact that ALD celebrates the first year of college when there are so many challenges

and transitions in life,” said Samford geography professor Jennifer SpeightsBinet.

Local Resident Publishes Memoir on Russian Life Peter Kirchikov, a local resident with a not-so-local past, has published his memoir, “Walnuts on My Bookshelf: Memories of Living in Communist Russia, 1952-1991.” In the memoir, Kirchikov describes the terrifying experience that was his everyday life for decades during the communist regime in Russia, where he is from originally. Kirchikov portrays his youth and the meaning behind the title of the book,

which refers to the green walnuts he and his family would have to gather and let ripen to have food later. Kirchikov and his family were Christian but had to hide their religious beliefs because of the fear of persecution. The book takes readers from his career as a professional linguist, writer, and full-time translator and interpreter for Sputnik to his changed life as an American immigrant.  Kirchikov contrasts the “Russian Dream,” with the “American Dream,” he has pursued since becoming a citizen. He is an active member of Bluff Park United Methodist Church in Hoover. The digital format of his memoir will be available in July. ❖

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**Please Note: No Pets will be allowed on the field.

14 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

About Town


To Market, to Market

Merchants, Shoppers Gear Up for European-Style Outdoor Sale By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

ith the 12th edition of Mountain Brook’s Market Day just around the corner, merchants are preparing to slash prices and shoppers are making their wish lists. Market Day, set for July 20, is a European-style outdoor sidewalk and tent sale for merchants in Mountain Brook Village. Stores will be participating from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some stores offering discounts of up to 75 percent off during the annual event. Many of the participating merchants often have music and other special events for the sale, and many have preview sales

‘It’s a long-running event and something that people really look forward to all year.’ Wesley Lassen, The Cook Store

leading up to the one-day event. Mountain Brook Village shops, restaurants and boutiques spend weeks getting ready for Market Day, but it is the shoppers who ask about it earlier and earlier each year, said Wesley Lassen, owner of The Cook

Store. “People start asking me about it in May,” Lassen said. “It’s a long-running event and something that people really look forward to all year.” Lassen, who has owned The Cook Store for 14 years, said she’s been participating in Market Day since the very beginning. Lassen said Market Day started several years ago with a Bastille Day sale at Christine’s. “It all started with Jean Clayton with Christine’s having a Bastille Day sale,” she said. “We would all have big sales on that day but decided to change the name to Market Day several years ago.” When it first became an annual tradition, lots of merchants would have outdoor activities for children and other things to lure shoppers to Market Day, Lassen said. “But we’ve gotten away from that now because really, it’s about the shopping. It’s not about the activities,” she said. Like other merchants, Lassen said she sets up a tent on the sidewalk outside her shop. “I will have a tent, but I probably won’t put anything out in it,” she said. “On July 20, people are going to want to come in out of the heat and do their shopping.” To help shoppers beat the heat,

the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce will have its own tent set up in the village with free water available, said Suzan Doidge, the chamber’s executive director. The chamber will also have Village 2 Village T-shirts on sale at its Market Day tent, Doidge said. Doidge said Market Day gives the city’s business community a chance to come together and gives people from all around the area an opportunity to come and see what Mountain Brook merchants have to offer. Lassen said she likes Market Day because it reinforces a philosophy she lives by as a merchant and a shopper. “I personally always try to shop

Market Day, set for July 20, is a Europeanstyle outdoor sidewalk and tent sale for merchants in Mountain Brook Village. Above and left photos show shoppers at last year’s Market Day Sale. Photo courtesy Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce

locally and support our small and private business owners,” she said. “It all goes back to supporting your community, and that’s why I love it.” At press time, these merchants were scheduled to participate in the 2013 Market Day in Mountain Brook:

Marguerite’s Conceits, Bromberg’s, A’Mano, Antiquities LLC, jojo Home at Marjorie Johnston & Co., The Dande’ Lion, The Cook Store and Table Matters. Visit for details. ❖

12th AnniversAry Saturday July 20th

Mountain Brook Village Join participating Mountain Brook Village merchants for a European-style sidewalk and tent sale ... a giant one-day only 8AM to 5PM flea market with discounts up to 75% off!

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 15

About Town


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

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16 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Volunteers Gather to Plan Hope Gala



Annual Event Will Raise Money for American Cancer Society


he American Cancer Society recently kicked off planning for its annual Hope Gala. The Hope Gala Committee Luncheon was held May 7 at the home of Lois Bradford, who is co-chairing the gala with Pratt AustinTrucks. Philanthropic women from throughout the Birmingham area joined together to learn more about the American Cancer Society and the annual gala. The 33nd annual Hope Gala will celebrate and honor the lives of cancer survivors in the Birmingham area and remember the lives of those who have lost their battle with the disease. Money raised at the event enables the American Cancer Society to continue to conduct groundbreaking research and offer patient support programs throughout the community. The programs include Look Good, Feel Better; Road to Recovery; Reach to Recovery and the

Hope Lodge. Several American Cancer Society staff members were on hand for the kickoff event, including Laura McDonald, board president, and staff members Ellen Miles and Ginny Tucker. Also attending were the gala’s honorary chairmen, Susan Brouillette and John Beard. Others attending the luncheon were Penney Hartline, Lisa Jernigan Bruhn, Tricia Pugh, Valerie Lightfoot, Heidi Hallman, Lynn Creighton, Traci Frazer, Lauren Conner, Allison Ingram, Alice Jackson, Mary Anne Shows and Elisabeth Branch. Also spotted at the planning event were Nicole Leitner, Jenny Culp, Jennifer Garcia, Katherine DeBuys, Kathleen Doss, Margaret Little, Mary Louise King, Missy Barze, Cheryl Fritze, Kerri Windle, Tricia Abele, Lori Robertson, Laura Silsbee, Kristin McPherson and Mary Anne Shows. ❖

From left: Valerie Lightfoot, Kristin McPherson, Lori Robertson and Elisabeth Branch. Photos special to The Journal

Laura McDonald, John Beard and Susan Brouillette. Pratt Austin-Trucks and Lois Bradford.

Margaret Little and Heidi Hallman.

Go Red for Women Celebrates 10th Anniversary More than 500 people from across central Alabama packed into the Wynfrey Hotel ballroom for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon. The May 10 event highlighted the effort to fight the No. 1 killer of women in America-heart disease. The event also commemorated the 10th anniversary of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. The movement educates women about their heart disease risk factors, gives them the tools they need to fight back and raises money for life-saving research. More than $30,000 was raised during the luncheon’s “Open Your Heart” moment, bringing the total for the campaign this year to just under $350,000. St. Vincent’s Health System provided complimentary health screenings for luncheon guests and led an expert panel discussion on women and heart disease.  Alabama Power sponsored an olive oil tasting bar, Yogurt Mountain handed out free frozen treats and Estee Lauder provided free makeup touchups. Mayer Electric presented an exhibit on notable American Heart Association/American Stroke Association achievements and breakthroughs.

Guest Ciara Rompy raises her hand to donate during the Open Your Heart portion of the Go Red For Women Luncheon, which raised $30,000 for the American Heart Association. From left: Lauren Roden, Caprenia Anthony, Vicki Briggs, Malena Cunningham, Judge Debra Goldstein and P.J. Rossi. Photo special to The Journal

The American Heart Association’s famed red couch made its first public appearance since American Heart Month in February. Videos filmed during its tour earlier this year were

screened outside the ballroom. Those attending the event included Charlie, Brenda, Jody, Tyler and Brooklyn Burdette, Lauren Roden, Caprenia Anthony, Vicki

Briggs, Malena Cunningham, Judge Debra Goldstein and P.J. Rossi. Others celebrating the 10th anniversary of Go Red for Women were Nancy Goedecke, Vicki Briggs, Ciara Rompy, Rosilyn Houston, Sherron Simmons and Stephanie Alexander. ❖



Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 17

Wilton and Vicki Bunch at Opera Birmingham’s 35th annual opera competion. A record number of 127 contestants from across the country competed for prize money and the opportunity to perform with Opera Birmingham. Photos special to The Journal

Opera Birmingham Winners Announced Baritone Nicholas Pallesen, 34, of Woodbridge, Va., was awarded first prize in Opera Birmingham’s 35th annual opera competition on May 19. Pallesen finished first among a record number of 127 contestants from across the country with performances of “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Ford’s Monologue” from Verdi’s “Falstaff.” As the winner, he received the Martha Dick McClung Award of $3,500. Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis of New York, N.Y., secondprize winner, received the Birmingham Opera Guild Award of $2,500 with her offerings of “Smanie implacabili” from Mozart’s “Così fan tutti” and “Se Romeo, t’uccise un figlio” from Gerry Dunham, Dorinda Smith, Betty Healey and John Smith. Bellini’s “I Capuleti e I Montecchi.” Third place, with a prize of $2,000, was awarded to soprano Colleen Daly of Columbia, Md., for her performances of “Ain’t It a Pretty Night?” from Floyd’s “Susannah” and “E strano… Sempre libera” from Verdi’s “La traviata.”  Baritone Ryan Milstead of Miami placed fourth with performances of “Avant de quitter” from Gounod’s “Faust” and “Largo al Factotum” from Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” Milstead received a prize of $1,500 and an additional $1,000 as the recipient of the Audience Favorite Award, given in memory of Errol C. Allan.  A fifth prize of $1,000 was awarded to tenor David Blalock of Jonesville, N.C., for his performances of “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schon” from Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” and “New York Lights” from Bolcom’s “A View from the Bridge.” Encouragement Awards with prizes of $500 each were presented to two semifinalists, soprano Andrea Thomas of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and baritone Conor Angell of Scott and Diane Selman and John Jones. Houghton, N.Y. In addition to receiving prize monies to help foster their careers, the five finalists will be considered for Robert Hinds, Dr. Celia Huston, Patty McDonald and performance opportunities with Opera Birmingham and Patti Mulock.  other companies represented by the judges. Judging The opera competition gala dinner and finals concert the 2013 competition were Kathleen Clawson, stage was sponsored by William L. Williams and held in director; John D. Jones, general director of Opera memory of Joyce G. Heslip. Birmingham; and Vanessa Uzan, managing director of The mission of the Opera Competition is to encourage Uzan International Artists. and provide financial support for talented young singAccompanying the finalists on the piano was Elden ers pursuing careers in opera. Over the past 35 years, Little. the competition has helped launch the careers of singThe 2013 competition was made possible by prize ers including tenors Bryan Hymel and Roy Cornelius sponsors Nanci Chazen, Dorinda and Dr. John Smith, sopranos Kristin Lewis and Jan Cornelius and Smith, the Birmingham Opera Guild, Michael J. and baritone Corey McKern, who have gone on to perform MaryAnne Freeman, Sara Sistrunk, Sonny Lewis, on the world’s most prestigious stages.  Michelle Bartol and Thomas Bilich, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Opera Birmingham, the only professional opera Emison, Mimi Jackson, Dr. Julius E. Linn Jr., Martha company in North and Central Alabama, has entertained Pezrow, Sue Watkins, Judge and Mrs. Scott Vowell, audiences since 1955. For more information, visit operaDrs. Sandra Gianturco and Bill Bradley, Mr. and Mrs. ❖

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18 • Thursday, June 27, 2013



Gaieties Celebrate Spring Under the Big Top

Summer Linen Sale! 20-75% off all Bed Linens!!!

July 1st - 20th 2406 Canterbury rd Mtn. brook Village 879.2730

ABOVE: From left: Dan and Lucy Allison, Barry and Brownie Evans and Jackie and Bruce MacClary. BELOW: Helen and Walter Gay Pittman. Photos special to The Journal

Invitations to the Gaieties Dance Club’s Spring Dance arrived in popcorn bags inviting members to a night at the circus at Mountain Brook Club. Robert Logan of Backstage Florists created a festive evening under the big top. The circus theme was carried out with decorations featuring elephants, trapeze artists and balloons. Jean Rogowski’s circus music filled the living room where memTo: Marguerite bers had cocktails and popcorn hors d’oeuvres. From: Over the Mountain Journal President Brownie Evans with Date: June 20123 Barry and dance chairman Jackie This is your aD prOOF FOr OTMJ June 27, 2013 issue. please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to MacClary with Bruce greeted new approve your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changesmembers to 824-1246. Dana and Pete McCarn, Katharine Donnie Patton and please make sure all information is correct, including address and phoneand number! Rosalind and Jim Stroud under the archway featuring giant clowns. please initial and fax back within 24 hours. Members proceeded to the dining If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the friday before the press date, your will run as dined is. roomadwhere they at tables with centerpieces of popcorn baskets, ribThank you for your prompt attention. bons, hotdogs and fluorescent lights. The menu included spring salad, filet mignon, chicken breasts, asparagus and crème brûlée. The Classics, with vocalist Emily Herring, played music for dancing. Other Gaieties officers attending were June Henderson with Malta Narramore, Janie Henderson

with Jimbo, Sandra Oden with Terry, Betty Northen with Charlie, Barbara Sandner with Joe, Edith Medley with Fred, Doris White with Joe McCracken, Cheryl Williams with Shorty and Mary Steiner. Also attending the circus-themed dance were Lucy and Dan Allison, Ann and John Baker, Barbara and Win Baird, Coquette and Bill Barnes, Becky and David Bates, Leslie and Rob Black, Andrea and Bob Burton, Nita and Coy

Collinsworth, Jill and Kip Dangler, Linda and Bob David, June and John Eagan, Barbara and Ken Flash Marjorie Forney, Gerry and Jim Gillespy, Louise and Sharp Gillespy and Beverly and John Goff. Others enjoying the evening were Fay Hall, Sara and Rex Harris, Lynn and Tim Hennessey, Joanie and Carey Hollingsworth, Ann and Barrett Hicks, Linda Sue and Sam Johnson, Nancy and Lamar Latimer, Marsha and Ken Little, Joyce and Jim Lott, Ann Martin and Jerry Luskington, Ann Massey, Danna and Pete McCarn, Valerie and Tommy Pankey, Kathleen and George Petznick; Helen and Walter Gaye Pittman; Natasha and Richard Randolph, Dorothy and Bryan Ratliff, Margaret and Tommy Ritchie, Pat and Kenneth Robinson, Elaine Smith, Catherine and Stewart Smith, Mary and Terrell Spencer, Cindy and Andy Strickland, Kathy and Charles Terry, Virginia and Tom Tucker, Betty and Albert Tully, Evie and Alex Vare, Mary Elizabeth and Jim Waitzman, Suzanne and Mike Wald, Margaret and Bill Whitaker and Doris and Jim Wilson. ❖

Pour S’More: Annual Event Raises Money for Camp Fire Those attending a fundraiser at Avondale Brewery got to enjoy a favorite childhood treat and help kids at camp. The Camp Fire Alabama second annual S’mores and Pours was held at the Birmingham brewery May 2. The event raised more than $7,800 for Camp Fire Alabama, a local chapter of a national youth development organization. Camp Fire helps young people through programs focusing on promoting character and leadership through experience. Locally, the council served more than 15,000 children in 2012. More than 150 guests attended the second annual event hosted by the Junior Board of Camp Fire Alabama. Kelly Seales was the event’s organizer. Avondale Brewery offered samples of select brews. Local restaurants provided food pairings, including their own spins on the classic campfire treat of S’mores. The event also included a silent auction featuring two rounds of golf at Oxmoor Valley, VIP passes to the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil, restaurant gift cards, Alys Stephens Center passes, wine packages, artwork from local artists and more.

Kelly Seales and Allison Wise.

Photo special to The Journal

Those attending included Allison Wise, Jacquie Harty, Melissa Butler, Meegan Newton, Cassie Caraway, Garner Boogaerts, Bernie Brannan, Chelsey Whilding, Brian Sunderman and Janice and Robert Adams. ❖

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 19



Send social news to Starts July 1st

AnniversAry sAle! Through July 31st

Save 10% to 50% ABOVE: From left: Carey Hinds, Carolyn Hill, Beth Henry, Toni Hartley, Patsy Hanes, Laurie Haworth and Nell Henderson. Below right: Sallie Aman, Dale Holditch and Diana Turnipseed. Photos special to The Journal

Charades Dance Club Introduces New Officers Current officers were lauded for a job well done and new officers were introduced at the recent Charades Dance Club spring luncheon. The event was held on the patio of the Garden Cafe at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. President Janie Trammell welcomed the members, thanked the current officers for their service and introduced the officers for the coming year. Diane Weatherford is the new president, Anne Dawson is first vice president and second vice president is Carolyn Satterfield. Judy Daniel is secretary, and the new treasurer is Sallie Aman. Carey Hinds was chairman of the committee that planned the luncheon. Other committee members were Patsy Hanes, Toni Hartley, Laurie Haworth, Nell Henderson, Beth Henry, and Carolyn Hill. Lunch included quiche, salad, and rolls with a dessert of crème brulee topped with fresh berries. Members socializing before the lunch were Karen Watkins, Carolyn

Music Club Presents Scholarships

LaGroue, George Ann Parker, Barbara Chapman, Caroline Clayton, Milner Phillips, Judy Daniel, Toni Hartley, Laurie Haworth, Barclay Darden, Anne Dawson, Sallie Aman, Rae Trimmier, Diana Turnipseed, Kathi Ash, Judy Bewley, Carol Corvin, Madelon Rushing, Susan Bowman, Dale Holditch, Mary Ann Jones, Verna Lyons and Pat Miree. Other members enjoying the luncheon were Evelyn Bradley, Camille Butrus, Nell Henderson, Gayle Byrne, Helen Robin, Betsy Canterbury, Martha Cobb, Ellen Cunningham, Enid Dean, Sara Lynn DeFuniak, Patsy Hanes, Karen Sanders, Beth Henry, Carolyn Hill, Carey Hinds, Anne Lamkin, Josephine Pankey, Susan Reeves, Becky Rollins, Mary Cobb, Carolyn Satterfield, Emily Scarbrough, Rita Spencer, Louise Ellis, Annie Green, Claire Goodhew, Lynn Smith, Lana Thompson, Diane Weatherford and Mary Putman. â?– Samford University. The Penelope Cunningham Voice Scholarship was presented to Andrew Nalley, baritone, for studies at the University of Alabama. Johnny Mok, a violoncello player, received both the Stuart Mims Instrumental Scholarship and the Walter Sechriest Best Overall Performance Award from the Guild of the Birmingham Music Club. â?–

The Guild of the Birmingham Music Club awarded scholarships to several talented young musicians at the group’s spring luncheon in April. The luncheon and presentation of scholarship winners was held at the Mountain Brook Country Club on April 23. The first-place scholarship winners performed at the event. Alana Guarino, a flutist, received the Stuart Mims Instrumental Scholarship to study at the University of Alabama. Pianist Katherine Vest was awarded the Mildred Volentine Green Piano Scholarship for her From left: Andrew Nalley, Alana Guarino, Johnny music education at Mok and Katherine Vest.

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Congratulations and Best Wishes, Indian Springs School Class of 2013! Indian Springs congratulates its newest alumni on being accepted to colleges and universities nationwide and around the world— and on receiving more than $6.1 million in scholarship offers from these fine institutions.

Allegheny College, American University, American University of Beirut, To: Bard College, 323-6014 Auburn University*, Barnard College, Beloit College, Berry College*, From:College*, Over Boston The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 Birmingham-Southern College, Boston University*, Brown University, FAX: 205-824California State University–East Bay*, California State University–Long Beach, Date: June 2012 Carnegie Mellon University*, Case Western Reserve University*, Centre College*, Claremont McKenna College, Cleveland State University, Colby College, of THE MOuNTAiN JOu This is your AD PrOOF from theCollege OvEr Charleston*, College of William and Mary*, Colorado College, Connecticut College, June 28, 2012 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 82 Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Dickinson College, Duke University*, Earlham College, Eckerd College*, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Emory University*, Florida Atlantic University, Fordham University, Franklin and Marshall College, Furman University*, Georgia Institute of Technology*, Goucher College*, Grinnell College, Harvey Mudd College, Hendrix College*, Howard University*, Ithaca College*, Johns Hopkins University, Lafayette College, Landmark College, Lawrence Please initialUniversity*, and fax back within 24 hours. Loyola University New Orleans, Lynn University*, Marquette University, if we have not heard from youMcGill by 5 pm of the Friday before the pres University, Middlebury College, Millsaps College*, Mississippi University, your adState will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Morehouse College, Mount Holyoke College*, Muhlenberg College, New College of Thank you for your Ohio prompt attention. Florida, New York University*, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, State University*, Oxford College of Emory University, Pennsylvania State University, Queens University of Charlotte, Reed College, Rhodes College*, Rice University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Sacred Heart University, Samford University*, Savannah College of Art and Design*, Sewanee: The University of the South*, Skidmore College*, Sophia University (Japan), Southern Methodist University*, Southwestern University, St. John’s University, Stanford University, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University*, Trinity College, Troy University, Tufts University, University at Buffalo The State University of New York, University of Alabama*, University of Alabama at Birmingham*, University of California at Davis, University of California at Irvine, University of California at San Diego, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, University of Denver*, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Evansville, University of Hawaii, University of Houston, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*, University of Maryland–College Park, University of Massachusetts–Amherst*, University of Memphis, University of Miami, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, University of Mississippi, University of Montevallo*, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill*, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Pennsylvania*, University of Pittsburgh, University of Rhode Island, University of Rochester, University of South Alabama*, University of Southern California*, University of Tampa*, University of Tennessee–Knoxville, University of Texas–Austin*, 8QLYHUVLW\RIWKH3DFL¿FUniversity of Toledo, University of West Florida, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Vanderbilt University*, Villanova University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Wake Forest University, Warren Wilson College, Washington College, Washington University in St. Louis*, Wheaton College, Wofford College

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*Asterisks = two or more students have been accepted. Bold type = where students are matriculating.

20 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Symphony Volunteer Council Ends Season on High Note




• Wood window restoration and repair • Sash replacement, rot repair • Replace broken and fogged glass • Wood insulated, putty glazed, and composite vinyl replacement sashes • Locally owned and operated

Call 205-542-6094 left: From left: June Bulow, Diane Ray and Nancy Van Wanderham. right: Chandler and Jane Paris Smith.


special to The Journal


Sandra Annonio, treasurer; Nancy Morrow, parliamentarian; and Kathie Ramsey, immediate past president. Committee chairmen for 201314 are Emily Omura, guest artist hospitality; Tora Johnson, historian; Gailya Sargent, legislative liaison; Cheree Carlton and Charlotte Clarkson, orchestra hospitality; and Ginny Cockrell, volunteer coordinator. Welcomed as new SVC members were Wanda and Jim Payton and Pam and Jim Ausley. Among members and guests enjoying the evening were Martha and Bob Black, Shirley and Bob Brown, Roberta Atkinson, Tonie and Gene Bone, Mark Hill, Linda and Mike Griggs, Liz and Tom Warren, Virginia and Boyce Guthrie, Martha Noble, Janis Zeanah, Barbarann Beckett Gaines, Tallulah Hargrove, Mimi Jackson, Janis Abenathy, Jody Weston, Sandra Annonio, Kathie and

Alliance Francaise Hears Lecture on Proust

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The Hoover home of Barbara and Edmond Randle was the setting for the Symphony Volunteer Council’s May 23 membership party. Their Tyler Road home was built in 1947 by William H. Hoover, and the Randles bought it in 1987. Some 65 Symphony Volunteer Council members and guests spilled Jim from the spacious reception rooms Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 onto the large terrace overlooking the FAX: 205-824-1246 gardens. Oct. 2010 SVC President Kathie Ramsey This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNALannounced for the the success of the 2013 Nov. 4 2010 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.Decorators’ ShowHouse. She recognized outgoing officers and commitchairmen before Nancy Morrow Please make sure all information is correct,tee installed incoming officers. including address and phone number! Serving the SVC in 2013-14 are Roberta Atkinson, president; Debbie Reid, Rosalind Rust, Jody Weston 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, and Mimi Jackson, vice presidentseducation; Martha Black and Shirley your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Brown, vice presidents-membership; Thank you for your prompt attention. Liz Warren, recording secretary; Diane Ray, corresponding secretary;

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The Alliance Francaise recently hosted Dr. William C. Carter, who gave a lecture on the French writer Marcel Proust, best known for his masterpiece, “A la recherché du temps perdu.” This year marked the centennial of the work’s publication in Paris. Carter’s biography and expertise on Proust’s writings gave an insight on the writer’s life and philosophy. Carter noted that a new and more accurate translation from French to English needed to be done. After the presentation, Alliance

Winners Crowned at Member Guest Tourney

The Ladies Golf Association of Vestavia Country Club held its 63rd annual Member Guest Tournament in May. Chairmen for the event were Leslie Kincaid and Patsy Norton. The tournament’s first-place winners were Helen Walker, Peggy Kelley, Jean Archibald and Sheron Kellum. Second place went to Betty Lenoir, Chris Spivey, Vicki Hogue and Diane Hill. Brenda Dailey, Kathy Vann, Bok Stamper and Linda Woods won third place in the tournament. Kim Ware and Anne Long were the closest to the pin winners.

Kitty Urquhart and Dr. Bill Carter

Francaise members went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cotton Shallcross for a reception. Those present included Serge

Pringle Ramsey, Evelyn Ringler, Gerda Carmichael, Ginny Cockrell, Edith and Robert Bauman, Olivia and Gene Weingarten, Lu and Charles Moss, Diane Ray, Cecily Chaney, Terry and Jack Standridge, Nancy and Bart Morrow, Janine and A. D. Goode and Roma Bounds. Also spotted in the crowd were Ann Mims, Jane Pounds, Elaine and Oliver Clark, Nancy Van Wanderham, Jane Williams, Linda James, Jane Paris and Chandler Smith, Sandra and Bob Wilson, Lynne and Gator Cooper, Bonnie Cicio, Cheree and Eric Carlton, Mary Jo Nicastro, Donna and Evan McCauley, Norma Jeanne and Gene Crews, Corinne Greer, Wanda and Jim Payton, Pam Ausley, Lin and Jim Musgrove, Lucille and Veltra Dawson, Halcyann Badham, Clairee Clarke, Deb and John Sellers, Phyllis and Tom Davis and Ann Sullivan. ❖ Bokobza, president; Bill Carter, speaker; and Melinda Shallcross, hostess. Also attending were Regine Smith, Glenn Cobbs, Annie McCarter, Balkhi Majid, Balkhi Azza, Balkhi Amro, John and Katherine Sechrist, Emy McConnell, Kim Thomas, Scott Brown, Clay Spicer, Kenan LeParc, David Blake, Bob Burns, Ines and Norbert Schormann, Gaston Anaros, Mary and Kemp Delo, Fiona Shattuch, Celeste Grenier, Naneita and Glenn Cobbs, Margaret Bond, Cotton Shallcross and Genevieve Blandeau. ❖

Other players were Jean McCarley, Susan Murphy, Beth Adams, Beverly Lance, Marie Roberts, Patricia Libby Pryor, Jane Young, Lori McConnell, Ann Fulmer, Nita Jones, Evans, Leslie Kincaid, Murray Ann Langner, Joy Clark, Ann Priester, Nonie Brown, Margaret McCullough and Jamelle Shaw. ❖ Wall, Carolyn Hartman, Katie Kiefer, Fran Hogg, Betty Tucker, Peggy Lacey, Lynn Rushing, Linda Grossman, Jill Kimbrough, Nell Larson, Debbie Churchey, Patti Salmon, Betty Harrison, Beverly The tournament’s first-place winners were Helen Walker, Huddleston, Peggy Kelley, Jean Archibald and Sheron Kellum. Laneyl Owens,

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 21



Solis, Anna Byrd, Crys Worley and Caprenia Anthony. Also attending the fundraiser were Sheila Smoot, Kristy Osborn, Dee Repici, Heather Blisard, Abby Hathorn, Kristi Wilson, Kathy Byron, Angela McKinney,

Tata Respinto, Scott Edward Fell, Toni Viator, Beck Haines, Lillian Haines, Rives Oliver, Wes Samford, Joy Burttram, Michelle Scholtz, Julie Kim, Maria Schaffer, Tifoni DeFalco and Niki Hovanec. ❖

Clockwise from above: From left: Michelle Scholtz, Julie Kim, Marie Schaffer, Tifoni DeFalco and Niki Hovanec. Michael Tatum and Ann Simmons. Joy Burttram and Wes Samford. Photos special to The Journal

Event Brings Miami Fashions to Homewood

A one-of-kind charity fashion event combined the forces of Vestavia Hills salon owner and hairstylist Dona Bullock and 2012 Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan. Joelle Salon presented the event, Sunset in Miami, at The Hill in Homewood recently. Proceeds benefited Bryan’s charity, P.A.W.S. (People and Animals Working Side-by-Side) for Autism. Hundreds enjoyed the lavish poolside affair that featured floral designs by Dorothy McDaniel, hors d’oeuvres prepared on site by Michael’s Steak and Seafood and drinks from UnitedJohnson Brothers of Alabama and Piggly Wiggly Homewood.

Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan and Dona Bullock.

The first 100 guests snagged swag bags filled with surprises from local

sponsors and lined the pool deck to hear music from Miss Alabama. They then previewed 20 Miami-inspired looks, styled exclusively by Southern Femme, provided by Gus Mayer and the Clothes Tree and modeled by Miss Alabama contestants. Joelle Salon managing partner Mandie Joelle Powell conceptualized the hair designs. Spotted on the scene were Eleanor Parker, Alex Tino, Deborah Wiggins, Tori Chappell, Ruth Edgeworth, Ann Simmons and Michael Tatum. Others hanging out by the pool were Hannah Brown, Haley Bagwell, Ashley Willis, Lucky

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To: 323-2103 From: Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646, fax 205-824-1246 Date: June

This is your aD prOOF from the Over The MOunTain JOurna June 27, 2013 issue. please fax approval or changes to 824-1

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 dat your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

Thank you for your prompt attention.

22 • Thursday, June 27, 2013



Horizons School Celebrates 20 Years of Education bar, cake and assorted desserts. More than 200 people crowded into Enjoying the buffet were board the Horizons School on Birmingham’s members Don Lutomski, Nick Gaede Southside May 17 to celebrate 20 and JoAnne, Claire Kuhn and years of teaching young adults with Jimmy, Dick Sesler and his son Brent learning difficulties how to become from North Carolina and Dr. Nataliya independent, happy and productive Ivankova and Ivan. citizens.  Emeritus board members Steve Alumni and their families, former and Ruth West from Tennessee were teachers, members of the board of on hand for the special event, while directors and the Junior Board, current students and their families, community Junior Board members at the celebration included Raphael Richard, partners, faculty and friends all samBethany Jackson and Sarah Garrett. pled a buffet, catered by Hart & Soul Sunflowers, roses, gladiolas and Café. The menu included beef tendercarnations in the school colors of red, loin, turkey sliders, a mashed potato AKA OMJ summer Locker Lookz Ad_Layout Page 1 arranged orange1:02 andPM yellow were bar, grilled vegetables, a fruit1 6/21/13 Transform your

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Don Lutomski and Jade Carter. Far right: Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan and Jillian Roche. Photos special to The Journal

by assistant school director Marie McElheny and school director Dr. Jade K. Carter. Visiting artist Justin Locklear from Dallas entertained guests by completing a work of art during the evening, which he donated to the auction. Volunteers helping with the event included Grant Lauderdale, Jalona Patterson, Dayna Orr and Suzy Harris. Following dinner, current students and alumni moved to the auditorium for their graduation dance, while other guests enjoyed the student art show and live auction.  Throughout the school year, art teacher Toby Richards worked with students to showcase their artistic talents through a variety of media, including painted chairs and works on canvas and paper. Faculty member Apasra Hayes helped students produce crib quilts and hooked pillows to sell at the show. Family and friends also donated special pieces to add to the student art show. Later in the evening, auctioneer Kyle Bass entertained the crowd while auctioning off some pieces donated by artists such as Daniel Moore, who donated his latest piece, “Death Valley Drive,” featuring Alabama football player T.J. Yeldon; “Jellyfish” by Walter R. Harris of Brandon, Fla., and “The Social Circle” by Warren Mullins of Homewood. Faculty member Laura Vines donated photography for the event as well.  Guests viewing the art displays also enjoyed a selection of cheeses and crudités and sampled wines donated

by International Wines and Grassroots Wine along with a keg of Avondale Brothel Brown beer courtesy of Avondale Brewing Company. Other guests admiring the art included Kiwanis Club representative Colean Black and Shane, Dr. Ann Phillips, Terry McElheny, alum Lisa Waguespack and her parents, Gene and Diana from Houston, and 2013 graduate India Lott with her mother, Elizabeth Beall from Fredericksburg, Texas. Denise Raisor, a graduate of the first Horizons School class, and her mother, Pam, enjoyed the event and the chance to catch up with old friends. On May 18, 15 Horizons School graduates received their program certificates at South Highlands Presbyterian Church. Miss Alabama 2012 Anna Laura Bryan gave the commencement address to a crowd of students and graduates, parents, friends, faculty, staff and well-wishers.  Bryan talked about the importance of leaving a legacy and the type of legacy the students would create by living their lives as productive, independent adults despite various learning difficulties. She encouraged the graduates to make a difference in the world and to make use of the new skills they had learned. With students having a 97 percent employment rate, career faculty members thanked the business community for providing internships and employment opportunities to students. A special award was presented to James Coburn, Red Rock Realty, for his exemplary service to the Horizons

School students and the facilities. Students receiving Outstanding Achievement Awards included Dustin Roberts, Alex Brewer, Maggie Johnston and Frank Robinson. This year, two students shared the Student of the Year Award-- graduate India Lott and first-year student Matthew Darr. The Horizons School co-founder and assistant director Marie McElheny was honored for her 21 years of service as she announced her retirement. Board member Dick Sesler presented her with a scholarship named in her honor for use by future students and thanked her for being “the voice of the Horizons School and its students, as well as their counselor.” School director Carter lauded McElheny for her years of “love, sacrifice, energy and contributions to the success of our school and the students we have served for these past 20 years.” Following graduation, students and guests returned to the Horizons School for a reception and the chance to congratulate graduates and take more pictures with family, friends and Miss Alabama. Jennifer White, junior board member, served punch while guests enjoyed a light brunch and cakes decorated with the Horizons School 20th anniversary logo, designed by artist Leo Wright of Homewood. The Horizons School serves young adults ages 18-26 with learning difficulties. For more information, visit ❖

Garden Club Takes A Trip To See Shamblin’s Roses

the Center of Executive Leadership ministry, is also a master gardener. He has more than 100 rose bushes and said he has a real passion to share them with everyone. On Memorial Day, Shamblin conducted a seminar for the Horticulture Study Garden Club.

His wife and children made mint lemonade tea for the occasion. The Horticulture Study Garden Club was founded in 1975 and has 16 members, including charter member Ginny Lusk, who will celebrate her 90th birthday in November. ❖

Members of the Horticulture Study Garden Club recently took a field trip to see the rosebushes grown by George Shamblin. Shamblin, a pastor who works at

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 23



Antiquarian Society Looks to the Future, Honors the Past Antiquarian Society members planned for the future while honoring the past at their recent spring event. The Antiquarian Society of Birmingham held its annual spring luncheon-meeting at Shoal Creek Country Club on May 8. New officers were installed, past presidents were recognized and three members with more than 30 years of service were honored. Retiring President Rebecca Mason presided at the meeting. Shirley Evans coordinated luncheon plans for this finale to the year’s activities. Carolyn Drennen installed officers to serve in 2013-14. They are Rebekah Taylor, president; Nan Teninbaum, first vice president; Shirley Evans, second vice president; Rhetta Tatum, corresponding secretary; Kirke Cater, recording secretary; Joan Hull, treasurer; and Janis Zeanah, historian. Past President Judith Hand recognized other past presidents attending, including Carolyn Drennen, Jane Ellis, Anna Keith, Kathryn Porter, Pauline Fugazzotto, Anne Gibbons, Judy Haise, Elouise Williams, Anne Hollans, Doris Wayman, Martha Bartlett, Mary Carol Smith, Nelda Osment and Helen Mills Pittman. Parliamentarian Anne Gibbons presented proclamations recognizing Nelda Osment, Martha Bartlett and Pat Scofield for more than 30 years of service as Antiquarian members. In their honor, Treasurer Joan Hull announced a gift to Arlington Historical Association Inc. Assisting Shirley Evans with arrangements for the spring luncheon were Lynda Robertson, Mary Ann Jones, Kay Grayson and Diane Gay. A champagne reception overlooking the view from Shoal Creek clubhouse preceded the luncheon. Pianist Sally Sue Jones played popular tunes as members gathered in the reception rooms. The dining room was festive with round tables centered by square glass containers holding colorful bouquets.

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Incoming president Rebekah Taylor, left, and retiring president Rebecca Mason.

Among members enjoying the event were Barbara Baird, Martha Bartlett, Jeanenne Bell-Marshall, Kirke Cater, Elaine Clark, Patricia Clark, Sahra Coxe, Caroline Daniel, Margie Denton, Carolyn Drennen, Marjorie Forney, Joann Fox, Pauline Fugazzotto, Diane Gay, Anne Gibbons, Claire Goodhew, Kay Grayson, Annie Green, Judy Haise, Judith Hand, Tobie Hand, Dawn Higginbotham, Anne Hollans, Joan Hull, Sara Jackson, Rosemary Jager, Mary Ann Jones, Nancy Jones, Grace Key, Anna Keith, Lena Knight, Rose Lofton, Judy Long, Bitty Mason, Nancy Mason and Rebecca Mason. Other members attending were Helen Mills Pittman, Betty Northen, Margaret Northrup, Nelda Osment, Sue Patrick, Kathryn Porter, Margie Preston, Gail Pugh, Lucianne Pugh, Peggy Ragland, Kathie Ramsey, Carolyn Reich, Julia Alice Rice, Lucy Richardson, Lynda Robertson, Aubrey Ross, Terry Kay Simmons, Babs Simpson, Mary Carol Smith, Rhetta Tatum, Rebekah Taylor, Nan Teninbaum, Nancy Terrell, Barbara Wall, Celeste Waller, Liz Warren, Doris Wayman, Leila Welch, Elouise Williams, Margie Williams and Janis Zeanah. ❖

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From left: Betty Teague, Eugenia Harris, Sandra Watson, Patricia Simpson, Edgewood principal, Bill Guy, Camellia Wright, Jimmy Teague, Kathie Beard, Taylor Beard and Bryan Strickland.

Edgewood Classmates Reunite after 60 Years Former classmates at Edgewood Elementary School reunited in April to mark the 60th year since their graduation date. Sixty years ago, a group of excited young people graduated from Edgewood Elementary School and headed to Shades Valley High School. This group has stayed in touch with several reunions, mainly due to the efforts of Emily Erwin Allison. Allison continues to live in her historically-designated home on Broadway, and most of the reunions have taken place there. Allison’s mother, Kathleen Erwin, was the school registrar during the entire time the group attended Edgewood Elementary. Some grandchildren of the group have attended Edgewood. Two grandchildren of Sandra Hitchcock Watson--Henry and Jack Watson— now attend school there. There have been four organized reunions with class members coming from as far away as California and

New York. At the April reunion, the former Edgewood students brought food and drinks to share, including Bill Guy’s grilled nachos and Wanda Mayhall’s chocolate chip and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. During the reunion, some attended the school’s spring festival. Principal Patricia Simpson took them on a tour of the remodeled school. The original school building burned during the summer of 1953. Class members said they remember standing across the street crying as they watched their beloved school burn. The class of 1953 made a donation to Edgewood School to assure that the traditions the class held so dear will continue for years to come.  Attending the reunion from the Birmingham area were Emily Erwin Allison, David Cisco, Virginia Posey Groover, Sandra Hitchcock Watson, Sara Ann Morris Polhemus,

Joanne Maxwell Anthony and Bob, Eugenia Cherry Harris and Jim, Judy McConnell Smith and Ed and Richard Shoemaker and Renee. Out-of-town attendees were Sally Meacham Spurgeon and Camellia Penny Wright of Huntsville; Julie Grant Cashin and Berry Porter Rice of Athens, Ga.; Kay Reitmeyer Hidalgo of LaPlace, La.; Ralph Griffin of Melbourne, Fla.; Bill Guy of Nehalem, Ore.; Beverly Harbin Adams and Billy of Macon, Ga.; Bryan Strickland and Charlotte of Montgomery; Taylor Beard and Kathie of Charlottesville, Va.; Jim Teague and Betty of Greenville, S.C.; Carol Clasen Von Allman of Sarasota, Fla.; Bill Boykin and Betty of Gainesville, Fla.; and Jean Ousley Gospodareck and Don of Mobile. Guests from Birmingham attending the event were Patsy Harned Norton, Charlotte Weaver Donald and Glenn, John Schoppert, Still Hunter and Sayte and Fred McComb. ❖

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Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax June 2013 This is your ad proof from the over the mountain Journa June 27, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-

please make sure all information is corr 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 dat your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

Thank you for your prompt attention.


24 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Not Resting on Their Laurels Mantooth Interiors Owners Mark Business’ 40th Year with Expansion

By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

he owners of Mantooth Interiors are celebrating their 40th year in business by expanding their company’s offerings in a new showroom. And while the name of the company and many other things have changed over the last four decades, Lynette and Larry Mantooth said their commitment to quality and service remain the same. “We always say that a new day is another chance to reinvent ourselves and that if you’re not changing and evolving, you’re standing still,” Larry said. “We’re innovative, but we always think things through to make sure we’re making the best decisions for our customers.” That philosophy of embracing change while retaining quality is something Lynette said she hopes the new showroom will reflect. “We want to have that ‘wow’ factor but at the same time continue to offer our customers the quality pieces that they will still be proud to own 20 or 25 years down the road,” Lynette said. Recently, the upscale home furnishings store in downtown Homewood expanded to take over space next door that was vacant. “We’re still thinking about what to call the new space and are considering Mantooth Studios,” Lynette said. “But right now, I just refer to it as our ‘bling’ collection.” The new showroom will include the quality pieces Mantooth Interiors customers have grown to expect, with a nod to current trends, Lynette said. “We keep an eye on current trends, but we don’t have things in the store just because they are trendy. We look for things that will be appealing generation after generation, things that make a statement but are timeless. I think that’s why we’ve been in business for so long,” she said. The showroom space is not the only new addition for the 40-year-old company that until 2009 was known as the Brass Bed. Last year, Mantooth Interiors took over the franchise of its next-door neighbor, the Curtain Exchange. Mantooth Interiors had always done drapes and curtains but the work was contracted, Larry said. “It was just a natural fit for what we were already doing,” Larry said. “We did window treatments before, and this came along and we knew it would be a good fit and allow us to offer a more complete design experience for our customers.” Larry said the Curtain Exchange is “Lynette’s baby” and a venture she has already made successful. “Just since she’s taken over that, she’s doubled the sales numbers, and I think that speaks well not only for her business sense but her personality, too,” he said. Larry got his start in the home furnishings business before he even graduated from high school. “I started out in high school working a parttime job at E.L. Huey Furniture Company in Bessemer, and I’ve been in the business ever since,” he said. Larry said he was instantly hooked on the rewarding aspects of working in retail.

“Watching a customer get excited over something they just bought has been something that I have loved about this work from the very beginning,” he said. “I still get a kick out of making people happy.” After graduating from Bessemer High School, Larry tried to juggle his full-time job running a furniture store with college classes at the University of Alabama. “Back then, they didn’t have a lot of classes offered at night, and it became tough to try and work full time and go to school, so I never finLynette and Larry Mantooth, owners of Mantooth Interiors, are celebrating 40 years in business. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

ished college,” he said. By that time, Larry said, he decided it was time to strike out on his own. He opened the Brass Bed in 1973 on Valley Avenue in Homewood when he was just 27 years old. His uncle, who was an artist at Disney, created the company’s now-iconic bubble-lettered logo. Larry’s first business venture flourished thanks to the high demand for brass beds, which were very much a status symbol at that time. “In the 1970s and ’80s, having a brass bed was a big thing. And they weren’t cheap. A good brass bed at that time would run you around $1,200, and that was a lot of money,” he said. In 1986, while she was in nursing school, Lynette came to work for Larry at the Brass Bed. A few years after she started working at the store, a romance blossomed between Lynette and Larry, and the couple got married. They have a 20-year-old son, Josh, and a 9-year-old daughter, Lucy. Next, Larry expanded the business at a location on Central Avenue and was there until the store moved to the 18th Street South location in Homewood in 1991. As the business’ location changed, so did the

items it offered its customers, Lynette said. “We have tried to change as Birmingham has changed. As new people have moved into the area with different needs, we’ve tried to make sure we adjusted to meet the needs of our longtime customers and new customers,” she said. Lynette said she and Larry were already thinking about changing the name of the company from the Brass Bed to Mantooth Interiors to better reflect their offerings when the economy tanked. “It was kind of a scary thing because we had a company with a well-known name, but we wanted to make sure that new people moving into the area knew that we were about much more than beds,” she said. Larry and Lynette made the leap and changed the name of the business in 2009. The couple said the business survived the economic downturn because they weren’t afraid to change. “We didn’t stop buying inventory just because the economy was bad. Even if it was slow, we didn’t sit back on our laurels. We just kept moving forward and reinventing ourselves,” she said. In fact, Lynette said, the company has diversified so much that it is hard to put a label on it. “We’re not really just a home furnishings store or just a boutique or just a design firm. We’re not any one thing. We’re lots of things combined,” she said. Larry and Lynette said they strive to inspire their customers with the furnishings and other items they offer at the store. “We want to be the eyes and ears for our customers so that we can bring all the great things out there here to Homewood for them,” Lynette said. That commitment to bringing a rare and ever-evolving collection of the best in home furnishings is what Lynette said she thinks keeps customers coming back, year after year. “In some families, we have three generations of customers coming into the store to shop, and that’s really rewarding,” she said. Mantooth Interiors patrons are very familiar with the Mantooth children, Larry said. “We used to put Josh and Lucy down for naps right on the beds in the showroom. The kids have always come to work with us,” he said. These days, their daughter, Lucy, has become a fixture at the store. And the youngest Mantooth is already showing a strong entrepreneurial spirit, her parents said. “She’s been making all kinds of cards that she’ll try to sell in the store,” Larry said. “That little girl is on her way to the top.” But little Lucy might have to wait a little longer to take over the family business because her parents aren’t through expanding, changing and yes, reinventing the business. “I have a child in college and a 9-year-old, so I don’t see retirement anywhere in our near future,” Larry said, laughing. “I don’t know what the next 10 or 20 years hold for the company yet. Ask us tomorrow when we will reinvent ourselves again.” ❖


Village Dermatology Relocates Village Dermatology has moved to a new location, but the business didn’t go very far. Renovations are complete, and officials said they moved into a new state-of-the-art dermatology center directly across the street from the business’s present location on Cahaba Road the weekend of June 21. The Mountain Brook office of Village Dermatology and the Skin for Life boutique opened for business in the historic Union Carbide building at 2900 Cahaba Road at noon on June 24. “We are committed to staying conveniently located in Mountain Brook Village and are thankful to our patients and customers for their support in our continued growth,” Dr. Jenny Sobera (above) said. Sobera, a board-certified dermatologist, opened Village Dermatology in 2008 after renovating the Iron Art building at 2901 Cahaba Road. Sobera said the new center offers better parking, a separate pediatric reception area, an on-site pharmacy and beautiful views of Mountain Brook Village. The renovated facility was designed as a uniquely urban space that reflects Village Dermatology’s natural approach to healthy skin, Sobera said. Her team has grown since 2008 and now includes Dr. Kristy Curl and Dr. Meg Cherry, both board-certified dermatologists, and Shelley Winzeler, physician’s assistant.

Allen Iron Works Wins International Award Allen Iron Works & Supply Inc., owned by Vestavia Hills resident Jan Allen Smith, (below) has won an award in an international metal craft competition. The company received the Silver Award for forged exterior railings and fences in an international competition sponsored by the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association. The event was open to nearly 600 member firms throughout the U.S. and in seven foreign countries. Smith accepted the award at a special banquet in March in Albuquerque, N.M., during NOMMA’s 55th annual conference. This was the fifth award for the company from NOMMA. Allen Iron Works & Supply Inc. was founded in 1957 and is family-owned. It started as a custom iron fabrication shop manufacturing railings, stairs, fences, gates and miscellaneous iron products. The company still offers those products but has expanded to include fine metalwork with the addition of a custom forging shop. In additional to light structural work, the company also designs and builds fireplace tools and accessories, sculptures, lanterns and furniture. The company is on Pinson Valley Parkway in Birmingham.

School of Business Honors Alumni, Faculty Samford University’s Brock School of Business recently honored former students and current faculty members. Vicki Briggs, executive vice president and chief operating officer at St. Vincent’s Health System, has been named alumnus of the year.

by the chapter. Those attending the event included Austin Boyd, Lee Dyar Boyd, Carol Dyar, Steve Dyar, Bob Dawson, Joy Dawson, Robert Dawson Jr., Leslie Dawson, Leigh Riley, Tony Riley, Joan Bishop, Eric Bishop and Patrick Cumming.

Brookwood Medical Center Opens New Clinic From left: Scott Perry, Gov. Robert Bentley, Karen Odle and Vestavia Hills Mayor Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza. Photo special to The Journal by Deloye Burrell

Governor Speaks at Chamber Luncheon

Gov. Robert Bentley addressed nearly 300 Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce members, elected officials and guests at the chamber’s June 11 monthly luncheon. During his speech, Bentley talked about the state’s economic growth and Accelerate Alabama, a campaign to increase job creation and attract companies to the state. Bentley also told the Vestavia Hills crowd that the way to combat the increase in Medicaid spending is to create more jobs and get people educated and working. The governor also praised former Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce President Greg Canfield, who is now the state Secretary of Commerce. Canfield and Bentley traveled together to Paris this month to promote Alabama’s industries and recruit new international businesses to locate to the state. The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,000 member representatives. Its mission is to foster, promote, advance and improve the economic, civic, education and general business conditions for its members and the Vestavia Hills community and to work with other organizations in those endeavors in a nonpartisan manner. For more information, visit or call 823-5011. A 2009 MBA graduate, member of the Brock School of Business Advisory Board and American College of Healthcare Executives Fellow, Briggs has more than three decades of experience in leadership roles in healthcare. She is active in several community organizations, including the United Way, American Heart Association, March of Dimes and Rotary Club of Birmingham. “Vicki (above) has an impressive history of executive leadership in the healthcare industry,” said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business. “She has made tremendous contributions and innovations to the quality of healthcare in our community through her work at St. Vincent’s.” In addition to naming the alumnus of the year, the Brock School of Business also recently presented several faculty awards. Dr. Sara Helms, assistant professor of economics, won the 2013 Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Jim Reburn, professor of accounting, was recognized with the 2013 Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award. The 2013 Outstanding Scholarship Award went to Dr. Franz Lohrke, professor and Brock Family chair in entrepreneurship. Dr. Darin White, professor of marketing and the program director of sports marketing, received the 2013 Outstanding Service Award.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 25



Stephen Jones has been named the John W. Gay Professor of Banking and Barbara Helms has been promoted to assistant dean of academic programs. Sara Helms has been appointed the director of the Brock Scholars program.

MS Leadership Class Honored The National MS Society celebrated the accomplishments of the Birmingham MS Leadership Class of 2013 at an awards reception at Workplay on May 2. This is the Alabama chapter’s 20th year of honoring business and community leaders for their outstanding contributions to the business, civic and cultural betterment of the city and for partnering with the National MS Society in its efforts to create a world free of MS. The MS Leadership Class of 2013 included 54 members who were each presented with the MS Leadership Award, one of the highest awards given

Brookwood Medical Center’s network of primary care and specialty clinics has expanded with a new facility in Mountain Brook. Dr. Laura Bunch, (below) a boardcertified physician with experience in both internal medicine and medical oncology, is seeing patients at the new Crestline Park office at 4500 Montevallo Road near CVS in the Shops of Montevallo. The clinic accepts same-day, walkin appointments along with routine and sick visits, physicals and annual wellness exams, immunizations, treatment of minor injuries like sprains and cuts, chronic care for diabetes and hypertension, onsite diagnostic and lab services and weight loss programs. Bunch completed her internal medicine residency program in Birmingham and her fellowship program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. She went on to practice medicine in Austin, Texas, for seven years. “I’m pleased to join the Brookwood network of physicians,” Bunch said. “It enables me to give my patients the best of both worlds--access to primary care and preventive medicine in a convenient location backed by the resources and technology of Brookwood Medical Center.” Bunch and her husband, Bryan, live in Vestavia Hills with their four children. The Brookwood Care Network, which includes medical practices owned by Brookwood Medical Center, has more than doubled in size since 2011 to include 14 primary care and internal medicine physicians and five specialists. Brookwood has also partnered with Cardiovascular Associates, which includes nearly 30 cardiologists who see patients in eight locations. For more information, visit or call 9404690. ❖

At The National MS Society awards reception to honor business and community leaders for their contributions to the business, civic and cultural betterment of the city of Birmingham recently were, from left: Leigh Riley, Tony Riley, Joan Bishop and Eric Bishop. Photo special to The Journal


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26 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Maintaining a Mural



“I was a rookie teacher and this was my first teaching job in 1988 and by that time, this mural was already a landmark,” Dodson said. “This mural is significant to everyone who has lived in the Over the Mountain area.” There was an effort in the mid1980s to preserve the mural, Wood said, but the land-

Efforts Underway to Preserve Berry School Artwork By Keysha Drexel


Journal editor

retired Hoover teacher is leading efforts to preserve what he and others say is not only a treasure of the Hoover City School system but also a historic Over the Mountain landmark. Wayne Wood, who taught and coached athletics at Simmons Middle School for 30 years, said the tiled mural at the old Berry School site on Columbiana Road needs a little TLC to keep it in good shape for years to come. “The Berry mural is truly a treasure that needs to be respected and preserved,” Wood said. Wood has done research on the mural and said he found out a lot about it by talking to the artist who created it and from an article written by Francis Spotswood in 1965. The idea for the mural came about in the 1960s when Jefferson County school officials wanted to spruce up the huge, blank wall of one of the school’s buildings that faced Columbiana Road. The school, which first served the Over the Mountain community as an elementary school in 1959, was part of the Jefferson County school system before Hoover formed its own school system. The school was named for Col. William Andrew Berry, a former educator who had served as the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools and as a trustee at Samford University. “Back before Interstate 65 was completed, Columbiana Road was a very heavily traveled road,” Wood said. “I think they wanted to do something to let people know that there were school buildings up here, so the idea for a mural was born.” Wood said Alton Crews, who was then

the associate superintendent of education for Jefferson County Schools, and George Ellis, the school system’s art supervisor, wanted to make sure the 20-foot by 42-foot blank wall was filled with student-created designs. “They wanted to symbolize the quest for knowledge and make it large enough that a passing traveler couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of it and at least wonder what it was,” Wood said. Wood said that Berry High art students were invited to submit designs for the mural and that from the 20 best entries, a drawing by Kerry Buckley was selected for the project. Buckley was the president of the Alabama Art Club and senior class president. Buckley’s original design for the mural had to be reworked to meet the requirements of architects Davis, Speake and Thrasher and to meet the suggestions of the tile company, American Olean. Berry High Principal Clyde Yeilding and the school’s art teacher, Mary Charles Painter, worked closely with Buckley, the Jefferson County school board, the architect and contractor in planning and completing the project, Wood said. The mural depicts five basic fields of education. The laurel wreath on the mural stands for athletics, the triangle represents mathematics, the paintbrushes and palette represent the arts, a test tube and atomic symbol represent science and the quill and scroll images represent the humanities. The figures in the mural are all different colors, which Wood said represents the equality of all humanity in the quest for knowledge and enlightenment. At the top of the mural is a torch with a lighted flame that represents the light of learning illuminating the darkness and dispelling ignorance, Wood said.

Top: The mural at the old Berry School site on Columbiana Road was created in 1965 by Kerry Buckley, a student at the school. The mural has approximately 138,480 tiles and depicts the five basic fields of education. Above: Rod Dodson, Hoover City Schools assistant superintendent of instruction, left, and Wayne Wood, a retired Hoover coach and teacher is leading efforts to preserve the mural. Journal photos by Keysha Drexel

The torch symbol is also the symbol the Hoover City Schools system now uses in its logo, said Ron Dodson, assistant superintendent of instruction for Hoover City Schools. “We still believe that knowledge sets you free, and that’s what this mural represents,” he said. Dodson’s first teaching job in the Hoover system was at the old Berry School site.

mark needs more attention. “Some of the tiles have fallen off, and there’s a tree growing in the corner of the building that kind of obscures the full view of the mural. It just needs some careful help now to get it back in good shape and keep it that way,” he said. Wood said noted sports artist Daniel A. Moore, a 1972 graduate of Berry High School, once counted the tiles on the mural and found out there were a total of 138,480 in the mosaic. “We just need to rally all the people who have ties to this school and who care about preserving this part of our history,” Wood said. Wood said he hopes the mural will be completely restored by the time it celebrates its 50th birthday in two years. “There are residents from the Over the Mountain and Jefferson County communities as well as many from the state, nation and even the world with Berry High connections,” he said. “Many have fond memories of their school days which included this artwork scene every day they attended Berry. Thousands of others passed by it on the way to an athletic contest, a graduation or other event who also perceived the mural as the face and symbol of Berry.” ❖

School Notes

The Shades Valley Rotary Club recently honored several OTM teachers at the annual Teacher Appreciation Awards ceremony. From left: Joey Plaia, Pete Giangrosso, Bonnie Richards, Nidia Fernandez-Lee and Christine Morman. Photo special to The Journal

Shades Valley Rotary Club Honors OTM Teachers The Rotary Club of Shades Valley recognized several teachers with its annual Teacher Appreciation Awards on April 8. The award honors teachers in the community who show exceptional dedication to their students.  The teachers honored were from Mountain Brook High School, Shades Valley High School, Homewood High School and John Carroll Catholic High School. This year’s award winners were Pete Giangrosso of Mountain Brook

High School, Nidia Fermandez-Lee of Shades Valley High School, Christine Morman of Homewood High School and Joey Plaia of John Carroll Catholic High School.

OLS Students Host Ultimate Author Day Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School celebrated its fifth annual Ultimate Author Day April 24. The students celebrated skills of writing and learned about different forms of language expression from professionals who visited the school for the event. The theme for this year’s

UAD was weather. The students attended workshops, sharing sessions, special performances and literature-based activities presented with the help of professionals and volunteers. Preschool through eighth-grade students worked throughout the school year to write original books and other forms of written material to present on UAD. Their completed works were exhibited in the OLS Family Life Center Assembly Hall during the celebration. “This was our fifth anniversary for Ultimate Author Day, and we are so proud of our students,” said Mary Jane Dorn, OLS principal. “It’s amazing to see how confident these students are about writing now, because they have accomplished something that most people only dream about doing.”  The event’s keynote speaker was James Spann, chief meteorologist for Birmingham’s ABC 33/40. Monsignor Martin Muller, pastor of OLS Church and author, gave the invocation. Entertainment was provided by the Birmingham Boys Choir, the OLS Irish Dancers and Alabama Youth Symphony violinist Ethan Mallick Hossain.  Other presenters included Alec Harvey, Jerry Tracey, Heather Sims, Crystal McGough, Charles Tortorici, Vicki Myers, Sheila Booth Alberstadt, Marilyn Jones, Ken Berg, Kim Maenza,

John Martignoni, Helen Kathryn Downs, Sarah Hosford, Betsy Stokes, Chuck Stokes, Brother Leo Mary, Finie Higgins, Michele Alesce, Caroline Spears, Jayne Morgan, Kesha James, Anna Trotman and Ethan Mallick Hossain. 

Homewood Students Place at Geography Bee Robert Merchant, a fourth-grade student at Hall-Kent Elementary School, competed against 99 other students at the state competition of the National Geographic Bee at Samford University on April 5. He advanced Robert Merchant through the preliminary round to the finals, where he tied for fourth place with two others. Hrithik Praveen, an eighth-grade student at Homewood Middle School, won eighth place at the competition.  

Liberty Park Students Take Learning Outdoors

Sometimes the best lessons can’t be

found in a textbook. That’s what the sixth-grade students at Liberty Park Middle School experienced while participating in activities centered on outer space, helping them get a better grasp on the science curriculum. On April 25, 78 Liberty Park students, parents, community members and boy scouts joined the Birmingham Astronomical Society in exploring the night sky.  Linda Rummell, a sixth-grade gifted education specialist, invited the society to bring telescopes to the school so that the guests could see what the naked eye can’t. Those who attended viewed Jupiter, Saturn, the international space station, the moon and the stars. Students also created star wheels to help guide them in locating certain stars and constellations.  On April 30, sixth-grade science teacher Desiree Spencer brought Dr. Lawrence DeLucas to speak to the class. DeLucas is a biochemist who traveled to outer space as a payload specialist on a NASA space shuttle during the mission STS-50.  On May 2, the students visited the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center. They went on a guided tour, watched an iMovie, took a ride on the interactive simulators, viewed the exhibits and participated in a hands-on science lab.


Spain Park High School Sees Triple with 2013 Grads Spain Park High School’s 2013 graduating class was probably one of a kind for three reasons—it had three sets of triplets. The threesome of triplets included Amanda, Carlton and Danielle Ivy; Paige, Connor and Katherine Burleson; and Sam, Hannah and A.J. Hudson. The nine students beat the odds in that they all ended up in the same school at the same time and in the same graduating class. All attended Hoover City Schools since kindergarten. They and their classmates graduated from Spain Park on May 22 at

Samford University’s Pete Hanna Arena. All of the triplets are fraternal instead of identical, so many at their school had never realized there were three sets of triplets walking among them. “We’ve all been here (in the same school) since sixth grade--and have come all the way up through high school together,” Carlton Ivy said. The siblings are close to one another, and all nine of the triplets are very close friends. In fact, some of their families travel together, and a Burleson is dating one of the

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 27


Three sets of triplets were part of the 2013 graduating class at Spain Park High School. From left: Carlton, Amanda and Danielle Ivy; Connor, Paige and Katherine Burleson; and A.J., Sam and Hannah Hudson. Photo special to The Journal

Hudsons. “It brings us closer. It’s the basis of our friendship, but there’s also so much more than that. We are all really, really good friends. Not just because we’re triplets but because we get along so well together,” Paige Burleson said.

The group is planning to stay relatively close to each other through college and said they hope to keep in touch. They will all remain in the state at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Birmingham-Southern College and the University of

Alabama at Birmingham. The Ivys will all attend UA. “There’s always something in common between us, and we’ve grown a lot closer this senior year. It’s sad to see everyone go, but being triplets has really brought us closer,” Hannah Hudson said. ❖

School Notes Saint Francis Xavier School students won awards for their work at the school’s annual art show. From left: Wyatt Williams, Sarah Jenkins and Katarina Johnson. Photo special to The Journal

Students Show Artwork At Saint Francis Xavier Saint Francis Xavier School held its annual art show on April 16, displaying students’ artwork in the halls. The event led by Saint Francis Xavier art teacher Patty Rudnicke was sponsored by the school and the Home and School Parent Organization, which provided refreshments for the parents and guests who attended. Each student in kindergarten through eighth grade participated, creating art with crayon, pastels, watercolors, metal, sculpting clay or plaster. They then contributed a piece that they felt was their most important. The artwork was judged and put on display. Judges for this year’s event included

a local artist, a local art program instructor and a representative from the Birmingham Museum of Art. The Saint Francis Xavier Art Show was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the creativity of each student, organizers said. The judges awarded first, second and third places, honorable mention and best of show in three grade groupings. Katarina Johnson won best in show for grades K-2, Wyatt Williams won for grades 3-5 and Sarah Jenkins won for grades 6-8.

Mountain Brook Student Earns First Chair at State Adam Thomas of Mountain Brook Junior High School won the first chair

Adam Thomas, center, won first chair for trombone at the Alabama All State Middle School Band. Dr. Frank Blanton is on the left and Dr. Mark Foster is on the right. Photo special to The Journal

for trombone at the Alabama All State Middle School Band, held April 18-20. Before the all-state level, Thomas earned first chair in every honor band that he took part in this year, including the Alabama All State Jazz Band, the District IV Honor Band, the UAB Honor Band, the Samford Honor Band and the Montevallo Honor Band.  Thomas is a member of the Mountain Brook Junior High Band directed by Dr. Mark Foster. He studies privately with Dr. Brandon Slocumb. He has also marched with the Mountain Brook High School band, directed by Dr. Frank Blanton.  “The band is a great program and a lot of fun,” Thomas said. “The band directors are very talented and give students the opportunity to improve through individual efforts to come together for a superior band.” 

OTM Students Perform at Disney Resort Festivals Several bands and choirs from the Over the Mountain area had the opportunity to perform in concerts as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program. The Briarwood Christian School Lions Marching Band was invited to Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort on April 26 to play in the Future World March program. Pizitz Middle School Treble Choir of Vestavia Hills traveled to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa April 24 to participate in the Disney Sings program. Liberty Park Middle School Band went to the Disney Event Group at the resort on April 11 to be a part of the You’re Instrumental program. The Liberty Park Middle School Choir also traveled to Epcot on April 11 to take part in the Disney Sings program. The Disney Performing Arts program gives many types of performers the opportunity to learn, perform and compete at Disney theme parks. For more than 25 years, dance groups, choirs, ensembles and marching bands from around the world have applied to perform as a part of Disney Performing

Vestavia Hills Elementary West student Sarvagna Velidandla placed first in a chess tournament in Tennessee. Photo special to The Journal Arts. The program also provides workshops to hone performance skills. They are taught by Disney professionals. Festival Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort is a music festival in which middle, junior and high school choirs, bands, orchestras and auxiliary ensembles compete for awards from March through May. Disney Honors at the resort is the peak event to exhibit, educate and celebrate the country’s most prominent high school instrumental and choral ensembles in March.

Vestavia West Student Wins at Chess Tourney Sarvagna Velidandla, a Vestavia Hills Elementary West second-grade student, placed first in the fifth SuperNationals Chess Tournament. The prominent competition, held only

once every four years, took place April 5-7 in Nashville, Tenn. Velidandla beat an impressive 132 players in seven games with no losses in the unrated K-3 section of the competition. This launched her to the top as the national chess champion in her category. In this year’s SuperNationals, 5,344 chess players from all 50 states competed in different categories. Velidandla’s love for chess has helped her win many awards in local and statewide chess tournaments. She has won six first-place trophies since December 2012.

Homewood Teacher Honored for Instruction Lovie Crawford, a Homewood Middle School technology education teacher, received the Teacher Excellence Award presented by the International Technology Engineering Educators Association. Crawford will receive the award at ITEEA’s second general conference session. Only 36 exceptional teachers across the country were given the Lovie Crawford award.  The award is one of the highest available for technology education teachers. It honors an educator’s dedication to his or her students. ❖

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28 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weddings & Engagements


Jaclyn Elise Gaddy and Russell Wayne Pate were married July 6, 2012 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. The wedding took place at 6:30 p.m. on the Bayview Terrace overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay. Mr. Adam Bennett, close friend of the groom and minister from Gulfport, Miss., officiated the ceremony. Dinner and dancing followed. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Allen Gaddy of Hoover. She is the granddaughter of Mrs. Genie Paschal Harvey and the late Mr. Raymond Singletary Harvey and Mr. Rufus Herod Gaddy and the late Mrs. Louise Parker Gaddy, all of Aiken, S.C. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Wayne Pate of Hoover. He is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lewis Russell Jr. of Tuscaloosa and the late Mr. and Mrs. John Troy Pate of Winfield. The bride was given in mar-


Mr. and Mrs. Jerry William Chambers of Hoover announce the engagement of their daughter, Lindsey Kathleen Chambers, to Jason

riage by her father. The bride chose her sister-in-law, Tara Thompson Gaddy of Gulf Breeze, Fla., as matron of honor. Bridesmaids were Brittney Elliott Pate of Atlanta and Sarah Ryan Pate of Hoover, sisters-in-law of the groom. Other bridesmaids were Mary Shaffer Bullington, Lauren Hart Cannon, Anna Katherine Mosher, Jillian Anne Adams and Leslie Wallace Carter, all of Hoover; and Brittany Roberts Fitzgerald of Nashville, Tenn. Alexandra Paige Gaddy, niece of the bride, of Gulf Breeze was the flower girl. The groom’s father served as best man. Groomsmen were brothers of the groom Barton Landon Pate of Hoover and Nicholas Sean Pate and Dustin Chad Pate, both of Atlanta. Other groomsmen were Jeffrey Ryan Gaddy of Gulf Breeze, brother of the bride; Jonathan William Hillard of Atlanta; Stephen McClain Cole of Dallas; John Andrew Payne of Jackson, Miss.; and Seth Miles McGuire Winchester of Madison, Miss. The bride is a graduate of Auburn University and is employed by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network as an associate financial advisor. The groom is a cum laude graduate of Mississippi State University and was awarded a juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is employed by Southern Nuclear Operating Company as a regulatory affairs consultant. Following a honeymoon in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the couple lives in Hoover. Spencer Pickens, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn Pickens Sr. of Hoover. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Edward McMurray Sr. of Trussville and the late Mr. and Mrs. David Charles Chambers of Homewood. Miss Chambers is a 2006 graduate of Hoover High School and a 2012 graduate of the University of North Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mrs. Sarah Nickson of Eutaw and Mrs. Rebecca Pickens of Bessemer. Mr. Pickens is a 2005 graduate of Hoover High School and a 2009 graduate of the University of North Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in public communications.  The wedding will be July 13.



Mr. and Mrs. Robert Michael Thomas of Mountain Brook announce


Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy David Smithey of Vestavia Hills announce

Recently engaged, married or celebrating an anniversary? Let us help spread the word of your good news. Send your announcement to or visit for forms and info.



Sarah Elizabeth Gaulden and Alan Michael Brandt were married May 18 at Trinity United Methodist Church. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Andrew R. Wolfe. The bride is the daughter of Mr. Mike Gaulden and Ms. Linda Poole Gaulden, both of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mr. Mike Brandt and Ms. Jennifer Brandt, both of Birmingham. Given in marriage by her father, the bride was attended by Jessica Leigh Repole of Oak Mountain as maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Heather Britnell, sister of the groom; Brittany Bowman, Katie Daniel, Erin McGarrah and Laura Johnson, all of

Homewood; Mary Katherine Poole, cousin of the bride, of Dayton in Marengo County; and Lesley Newell of Birmingham. Mike Brandt, father of the groom, and Matthew Brandt, brother of the groom, of Birmingham were best men. Groomsmen were Page Martin, Robert Brudit, Drew Simmons and Clay Gaulden, brother of the bride, all of Homewood; Josh Britnell, brotherin-law of the groom, of Birmingham; Joey Pearse of Tuscaloosa; and Christian Simpson of Trussville. The ring bearer was Kylen Burns Newell of Birmingham. After a honeymoon trip to Cocobay Resort in Antigua, the couple live in Homewood.

the engagement of their daughter, Lane Ellen, to Graham Ronald Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Anthony Brown of Goose Creek, S.C. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Frances Manly Ferrell of Birmingham and the late Harold Cleveland Manly Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. L.S. Thomas Jr. of Birmingham.  Miss Thomas is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and Auburn University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and a minor in psychology. She was a member of Delta Gamma sorority and was an AU student recruiter. She received a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders in 2009 from Radford University, where she was a resident director. She was presented at the

2005 Poinsettia Debutante Ball. Miss Thomas is a speech-language pathologist at Pitts & Associates, Inc. in Birmingham. Mr. Brown is the grandson of Mr. Joseph Armistead Neff of Charleston, S.C., and the late Mrs. Geraldine Ott Neff and the late Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Herbert Brown of Cheshire, England. Mr. Brown is a graduate of Herndon High School in Herndon, Va., and Radford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and was a resident director. He is a graduate of the Alabama Fire College and is a firefighter with the City of Vestavia Hills.  The wedding will be Aug. 24 at Canterbury United Methodist Church.

the engagement of their daughter, Adrianne Elizabeth Smithey, to William Jefferson Cranford III, son of Dr. and Mrs. William Jefferson Cranford II of Charlottesville, Va. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Mary Fortner Walton and the late Mr. Samuel Amos Walton of Birmingham and the late Mrs. Geraldine Smithey Lee of Bessemer and the late Mr. Walter David Smithey of Bernice, La. Miss Smithey is a graduate of Auburn University. She worked with the International Mission Board serving in Nazareth, Israel, for 11 months. She was on staff at Lakeview Baptist Church at Auburn serving in its college ministry. Miss Smithey is employed as a youth minister at Second Presbyterian

Church in Memphis, Tenn. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Addie Joe Smart of Rutherford County, N.C., and the late Ms. Dorothy Louise Nicholson and the late Lt. Cdr. William Jefferson Cranford, USN, both of China Grove, N.C. Mr. Cranford graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations with a minor in German. He will attend law school at the University of Memphis in the fall and is also pursuing a master’s degree in international relations. The wedding is planned for Aug. 10 at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis.

Mrs. Kathryn Cooke Glaze of Birmingham announces the engagement of her daughter, Jessica Leigh Glaze, to David William Cox, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Dan Cox of Birmingham. Miss Glaze is the daughter of the late Mr. Timothy Charles Glaze of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Robert James Williams III of Orange Beach and Birmingham and the late Mr. Robert James Williams III and the late Mr. and Mrs. Ollie Edward Glaze of Birmingham. Miss Glaze is a graduate of Northwest Rankin High School in Brandon, Miss., and the University of Mississippi. She received a bachelor’s

degree in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. She is a clinical consultant at SuccessEHS. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Henry Cox of Lafayette and the late Mr. and Mrs. William Riley Henson of Dunlap, Tenn. Mr. Cox is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and Auburn University. He received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and served in the Marine Reserves. He is the owner of Wilcox Building Company, a Birminghambased construction company. The wedding is planned for Aug. 3.



public people private places

Author, blogger and publisher Liza Elliott sits next to a waterfall feature her husband, Peter Glaeser, created in the backyard of their historic Forest Park home. Elliott said she can often be found sitting near the waterfall with a pen and paper in hand.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 29

The Write Space

J.K. Rowling penned her first “Harry Potter” novel in a walkin closet she converted into a writing space. James Joyce liked to write in bed. And Alice Hoffman repaints her office a different color every time she starts a new book. Writers are like sponges soaking up everything in their environments, and whether it’s a small desk in the corner of a room or a remote cabin in the woods, writers need a place of their own to brainstorm, to dream, to ponder and create. Three Birmingham area authors recently took us inside the spaces that get their creative juices flowing.

The World at Her Fingertips


Well-traveled Writer Finds Focus at Her Forest Park Home Story by Keysha Drexel • Photos by Lee Walls Jr.

inding a place where she can be inspired, motivated and focused is as easy as coming home for one Birmingham author. That’s because Liza Elliott has filled her historic Forest Park home with things she loves and things that remind her of all the people she has met on her journey to becoming a writer, publisher, professor and painter.

“In my house, every item tells a story,” she said. “When I look she shares with her husband, Peter Glaeser. Elliott moved to the historic residential neighborhood 17 years around the room, I see my life, where I’ve been and where I still ago after spending several years want to go.” living in Egypt. A native of Chicago, Elliott is “I loved my home in Cairo so a graduate nurse with a doctorate much that I brought the whole in sociology and is an adjunct thing back with me,” she said, professor at the Sparkman laughing. Center for Global Health at While the exterior of Elliott’s the University of Alabama at home features elements like herBirmingham. ringbone brickwork, a steeplyShe has worked on refugee pitched roof and other Tudor health issues for more than revival stylings characteristic of 20 years--both onsite and as a Forest Park, visitors are transconsultant for the Red Crescent ported to the Middle East once Society in the Middle East. they walk in the front door. Her first book, “Finding “It needed some refreshing Palestine: One American’s Trek when we first moved in and we from the Midwest to the Middle already had all of this wonderful East,” was published in 2002. In stuff from traveling and living 2010, she founded Red Camel abroad, so we went to work to Press and published her second Elliott and her husband moved to the 1927 historic home on make it our own,” she said. “My book, “30-A Supper Club,” in Linwood Road 17 years ago. husband is a woodworker and 2012. Elliott is also a painter and loves to have a project going, so songwriter. this was the perfect house for us.” “I have to do something creative, to release that creative tenThe couple did all of the “refreshing” work themselves, Elliott sion, and my house gives me the ideal place to do that,” she said. From the brightly woven tapestries she was given during a trip said. While her husband is in charge of most of the carpentry and to Palestine to the cushions hand-embroidered by refugee women she worked with in Cairo, Elliott said artistic inspiration is never See Elliot, page 32 more than a few feet away in the 1927 English Tudor-style home

Charles Ghigna

Page 30

‘It is a storybook house in a storybook neighborhood. I knew I could write here.’

Page 31

Keith Thomson

‘I began to think it would be nice to write something longer than 30 seconds—and about something other than Cheerios.’

30 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

High on Writing



‘I get away with thinking like an 8-year-old, of climbing up to my tree house and looking out the window and wondering what kind of adventure I can get into next.’

Ghigna’s Creativity Soars in His ‘Tree House’ Office in Homewood

By Keysha Drexel Journal editor

Once upon a time, a writer and his new bride strolled the tree-lined streets of a neighborhood where they hoped to someday make their home. An English Tudor home on West Linwood Drive in Homewood captured their imaginations, and the writer knew it would be the perfect place to raise a family and pen books and poems. “It is a storybook house in a storybook neighborhood. I knew I could write here,” said award-winning poet and children’s author Charles Ghigna. And write he did. During the 38 years he has lived in the 1927 red brick house with his wife, Debra, Ghigna has penned more than 5,000 poems and 60 books for Random House, Disney’s Hyperion Books, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Abrams, Boyds Mills, Charlesbridge, Capstone and other publishers. His books have been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS and NPR. His poems appear in hundreds of textbooks, anthologies and magazines, and after hundreds of visits to schools to share his love of poetry and stories with children, the 66-year-old is known to most as “Father Goose.” But despite his nickname, Father Goose said his favorite part about his house--and his job--is that they give him a chance to act like a kid. Shortly after he moved into his home, Ghigna got the idea to convert attic space into a writer’s haven. “The walls and ceilings in the attic

were covered with this cardboardtype wallpaper, so I started scraping it away and discovered that underneath all of that were these beautiful, knotty-pine boards,” Ghigna said. “It felt like a little cabin in the sky, the perfect tree house.” So every morning for nearly four decades, Ghigna has climbed the attic steps to his “tree house” and looked out over the top of the elms and oaks and sweet gums to draw inspiration for his poems and stories. “I get away with thinking like an 8-year-old, of climbing up to my tree house and looking out the window and wondering what kind of adventure I can get into next,” he said. “It’s not work at all--it’s play.” Ghigna said he’s been playing around with words and stories since he was a young child growing up in Fort Myers, Fla. Born in Long Island, N.Y., Ghigna moved with his family to Florida when he was 5 years old. That’s where he first began writing poems and getting attention for his work. A story about a talking freckle earned Ghigna his first taste of notoriety when he was in the third grade. “I think I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know it. I wrote a silly story in the third grade about a talking freckle on a boy’s face. My teacher made a big deal about it. My parents used to make me stand in front of the couch and read it to their friends when they came to visit,” he said. “The story caught on and kept getting longer and longer with each retelling.” Ghigna was invited to read his story about the talking freckle on a

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Ghigna finishes his projects on a computer but usually starts his books and poems the old-fashioned way-with pen and paper. Ghigna has lived with his wife Debra in their historic red brick English Tudor house in Homewood for more than 30 years. Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

local TV station, but his first taste at being a famous author was bittersweet. “When I got back to school, some of the kids made fun of me,” he said. “Back then, it wasn’t considered cool for boys to be writers. I didn’t let anyone see my writing for a while and concentrated on playing baseball.” Ghigna played baseball all throughout school. He even went to a spring training camp and tried out with the Pittsburgh Pirates. But just because he wasn’t sharing his writing at the time doesn’t mean the young author had put away his pen. “I still kept notebooks and journals. I had fallen in love with language, and I couldn’t just completely stop writing. Like for most writers, I think, it was a compulsion--I had to write,” he said. While he was in college at Edison College, Florida State University and Florida Atlantic University, Ghigna had poems published in literary magazines, and his first books of poetry were published by university and small presses. “I was writing for adults back then and even had pieces published in Harper’s Magazine, but my wife told me I needed to lighten up,” he said. “So just before my son, Chip, was born in 1988, I began writing poems for children.” While he worked on his children’s poems, Ghigna earned a living as a teacher. He taught high school English at Cypress Lake Senior High School in Florida from 1967-1973, creative writing at Edison College in 1972 and served as poet-in-residence at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham from 1974-1993. “I thought I was in heaven because

as a teacher, I got to go to work every day with the goal to inspire my students and share my love of language with them,” he said. “I would teach all day and come home and write poems at night.” The poems were published in children’s magazines like Cricket, Highlights for Children and Children’s Digest and caught the eye of an editor at Disney’s Hyperion Books for Children. Ghigna signed a four-book contract with Hyperion Books in 1992 and left his teaching job the following year. He has been writing full time ever since. While finding enough subject matter to make it as a full-time writer for almost 40 years might seem daunting to some, Ghigna said he’s never been short on inspiration. “I keep pads and pens all over the house. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea. I don’t think I’ve ever had writer’s block,” he said. Ghigna said he gets a lot of the ideas for his stories from his immediate environment. “My inspiration comes from nature, children, pets, animals, family friends and from the real and imagined visions I see along my daily two-mile hike up and down the hills of Homewood,” he said. “Other inspirations include mostly the little things, the quiet moments. I listen and observe. I celebrate life. I practice gratitude.” Much of the inspiration for his early works came from his children, Julie and Chip, Ghigna said. “My children still inspire me. I have my son’s artwork all over my tree house office, and seeing his creativity helps me to be creative,” he said. And now that he’s the grandfather

of two, Ghigna said he has even more sources of inspiration for his work. “The inspiration for my children’s stories and poems now comes mainly from Charlotte Rose and Christopher,” he said. “Their names are proudly printed on the dedication pages of my last 15 books.” Charlotte Rose calls her grandpa “Goose” and delights in rearranging the multitude of goose figurines Ghigna has been given over the years by his young fans. Throughout his career, Ghigna has introduced countless children to the wonder of words but said the most rewarding part of his career as an author has been watching his grandchildren discover a love of language. “Seeing my son read a book I wrote to Charlotte Rose is the biggest blessing in the world,” he said. “I had big dreams about being a writer, but my living dreams have turned out better than anything I could have imagined.” Ghigna said his grandchildren help keep him connected to that sense of wonder that is vital to his work. “When I’m with my grandchildren, I get to look at everything with fresh eyes and see the world anew,” he said. “That’s the key to all of it.” Ghigna said he can’t imagine a better place to tap into that childlike sense of wonder than his tree house office. “I believe our surroundings, our sense of place and being, have a tremendous impact on who we are,” he said. “I spend endless hours here in my tree house each day, yet can’t wait to wake up each morning and climb those stairs again. It’s where the magic happens.” Lately, the tree house has been a hive of activity as Ghigna prepares for the launch for a new four-book series for toddlers this fall. He also has a board book about cats due out next year and is working on another fourbook series for kids about the weather. “My wife and I have also been writing stories for a new audio company, and I recently finished and submitted a new teen novel,” he said. For more information about Ghigna and his work, visit www. or check out his Father Goose blog at charlesghigna. ❖


Detective Work Novelist Keith Thomson’s Office Has Some Just-for-Fun Spy Gadgets

By Donna Cornelius

Journal Features Writer

Keith Thomson’s “spy pen” has a camera and camcorder—and also writes, he said. While he has the pen just for fun, the proper spy could place it on a desk for unobtrusive observations, he said. Journal photo by Lee Walls Jr.

‘I looked up Stanford’s continuing education programs and signed up for a writing class. My thesis ended up being published as ‘Pirates of Pensacola.’’

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 31


At first glance, Keith Thomson’s office in downtown Birmingham seems like a fairly standard workspace. There’s a utilitarian desk, table and bookcase. You’ll get a clue about his profession from posters advertising his two most recent books. And you’ll figure out he’s a baseball fan when you see a diagram of Yankee Stadium on the wall and autographed bats propped up beside the bookcase. Then the 47-year-old novelist brings out the really cool stuff. He has an iPhone-controlled minidrone that’s equipped with video cameras. On his desk is a pen that’s also a camera and camcorder, along with a motion-activated clock that also shoots videos. Those items don’t mean Thomson’s office is a covert operations center. They’re just fun for the author of two books with secret agent themes to have. “People asked me about the pen so much that I have it for sale on my website,” he said. “I think we’ve sold about three.” Thomson has had much more success in the literary world than

in the retail market. He’s the author of “Pirates of Pensacola,” his debut novel, and of New York Times bestseller “Once a Spy” and its sequel, “Twice a Spy.” He also writes a column about security matters for the Huffington Post. His articles have appeared in publications like the New York Times and Garden and Gun magazine, and he’s writing a baseball column for Birmingham’s Weld magazine. Unlike many authors who say they grew up with pens and notebooks in hand, Thomson’s childhood dreams didn’t include writing. “I had no thoughts about being a writer,” he said. As a teenager in Greenwich, Conn., he worked for a local newspaper as a political cartoonist, he said. He continued doing that as a student at Columbia University, where he majored in history. “I thought I’d be a cartoonist,” he said. “I drew a lot when I was a kid.” After graduating from Columbia, Thomson worked as an ad agency copywriter. “I began to think it would be nice to write something longer than 30 seconds—and about something other than Cheerios,” said Thomson. A new door opened when

Thomson reconnected with a high school friend. “He was like the fifth assistant cameraman on Karate Kid 4,” Thomson said, laughing. Because his friend got leftover film for free, the two decided to make a short film. To their surprise, their venture made it into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, a top showcase for independent films. “That got me into writing movies,” Thomson said. “I signed a threemovie contract with TriStar.” None of the movies were made, he

said, but that’s not unusual. “I’d have happily cleaned the floors for what they were paying me,” Thomson said. But after a particularly taxing meeting one day, he said, he ran into an agent “who must have seen something in my body language” that told him Thomson might be ready for a career change. “The agent told me, if you write a book, a novel, they don’t really change anything,” Thomson said.

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32 • Thursday, June 27, 2013

From Page 29

gardening projects, Elliott said she likes to add creative touches like the window treatments she made that look like Middle Eastern awnings. “I used to love to sew and do stuff like that and when I couldn’t find the window treatments I wanted, I made them myself,” she said. The foyer and living and dining rooms are painted a warm yelloworange color that Elliott said reminds her of the sun and sands in Egypt.

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For the main living area, Elliott said she and her husband chose to go bold with the wall color. “My husband loves color, lots of color, so we went with a bright teal for the walls in here. Psychologically, the color cools you down and relaxes you,” she said. The color also ties in the jewel tones found in the tapestries, cushions and pillows from the Middle East, Elliott said. “It all kind of fits together somehow, and it feels like home,” she said. At the far end of the living room is Liza’s workspace, which features views of the neighborhood through several large windows. “We decided to paint the walls purple there because it suits the sunniness of the area. It’s an invigorating color for a workspace,” she said. The workspace includes all the usual tools a writer needs--a desk, computer, pens and notepads--and also indications that writing isn’t the only art Elliott practices in the space. “I keep a keyboard here in case musical inspiration strikes, and I have a few of my paintings in here, too,” she said. But the writing area near the windows isn’t the only place Elliott likes to work. Most mornings, Liza said, she can be found perched on a bench near the waterfall feature her husband created

Arceneaux Gallery



Elliott’s home is filled with colorful treasures she acquired during the years she lived in the Middle East. This side table holds a lamp from Oman, a colorful vase with a traditional Palestinian design and small silver miniatures of a lantern and water pipe from Egypt. The carpet in the background is also from Egypt.

in their backyard. “My husband is also an avid gardener, and he created this whole little retreat right here in our backyard,” she said. There, among the sounds of the flowing water and with the hummingbirds for company, Elliott said she takes up pen and paper and goes, well, anywhere she wants. “When I write, I am free. Although I am well-traveled, writing helps me

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escape to the farthest places, all in the comfort of my home. It is like my personal time machine,” she recently told a crowd gathered at a mixer she held for bloggers, authors and poets at Homewood’s Little Professor Book Center. And her ultimate goal as a writer, Elliott said, is to take her readers with her on that trip in the “time machine.” “I want the readers to come along with me and hopefully learn something along the way,” she said. The desire to learn about places and people different from her is something Elliott said she has had since she was a young child growing up in Chicago and later, Indianapolis. Her father was in the importexport business and would send her packages from his trips across the globe. “I would get an opera program from Paris, and it made me want to learn French, to learn everything I could about France and to go there someday. He would send me postcards with one letter on each one so that by the end of his trip, I had postcards that spelled out a special message like ‘I Miss You’ or ‘I Love You,’ and those packages and postcards fired my imagination and made me want to see the whole world,” she said. After she earned degrees in nursing and sociology, one of Elliott’s former professors told her about a job opportunity working with Palestinian refugees in Cairo with Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance non-governmental organization. “I was 26 years old and I thought ‘Why not?’ so I packed up and moved to Egypt,” she said. That’s where she met her husband, who was a technical advisor on a project Elliott did to help educate nurses about emergency medical care. Elliott said her work as a nurse and social worker was preparing her for her life as a writer, even though she didn’t know it at the time. “Working in healthcare, you’re always asking people their histories and you learn a lot about them, and working in sociology gives you a chance to get to know people even better,” she said. While in Cairo, Elliott learned a little Arabic and immersed herself in her surroundings.

“I walked everywhere and got to know a lot of people. I lived there, I wasn’t a tourist, so I really got to see how people live and realize that a lot of the perceptions we have in the West about people in the Middle East are just not correct,” she said. Those experiences led Elliott to write her first book. “I had always liked writing, and after we moved here to Alabama for my husband’s job, he suggested that I write about my experiences in the Middle East,” she said. For her second book, Elliott said she knew she wanted to go in a completely different direction and write fiction. “It was time to lighten up, to take all of the bits and pieces of people I’ve met and places I’ve been and mix it all up and see what I came up with,” she said. What she came up with was “30-A Supper Club,” a mystery set in the Florida panhandle involving family secrets that date back to the Civil War. The idea for the book came to Elliott during a walk on the beach in Seagrove Beach, Fla. “I was looking out at the ocean and thinking about what would happen if I found a gold coin washed up on the beach,” she said. “From there, I started thinking about how the coin would have made its way to the beach. That made me think about all the relics and artifacts of humanity that have traveled for centuries over those waters, and by the end of my walk, I had the plot of the book.” Thinking about how a gold coin could end up on a Florida beach led Elliott to wonder if there was ever Confederate gold that was lost and never recovered. “That led to one of my favorite parts about writing--the research. I talked to a friend of mine who writes about the Civil War and then learned everything I could about Civil War history. I wrote that history into the book,” she said. Using historical information is one of her favorite literary devices, Elliott said. “A good story has detail in it. You have to understand the context and get it right or the readers will know,” she said. Those details were equally important as Elliott set about creating the multitude of characters for “30-A Supper Club,” she said. Elliott created a biography for every character in the book, handwriting on index cards her ideas of what each person in the book was like. “My characters are kind of a mash-up of all the people I’ve met and known,” she said. “I’ve been lucky enough to get to know so many different kinds of interesting people that I will never be short on inspiration when it comes to developing characters for my books.” The book was the first one published by Red Camel Press because Elliott said she wanted to test her foray into the publishing world on her own work first. A companion cookbook with all the recipes from “30-A Supper Club” is due out in September, she said. For more information on Elliott and her work, visit redcamelpress. com. ❖

thomson From Page 31

At the time, Thomson often stayed in a Los Angeles hotel to be close to work. But he and his wife, Birmingham native Karen Shepard, had a home in Palo Alto, Calif., where Stanford University is located. “I looked up Stanford’s continuing education programs and signed up for

Thomson has an interesting past himself—though not in the world of espionage. His resume includes something not many Americans can claim: He played semiprofessional baseball in France. a writing class,” he said. “My thesis ended up being published as ‘Pirates of Pensacola.’” Thomson met his future wife at a writers’ party at the Yale Club in New York City, he said. “That was my first writers’ party—and my only one,” he said. “I went hoping to meet someone smart and pretty, and that’s what I did.” The Thomsons, who have two children, live in Mountain Brook. Thomson said he chose a pirate theme for his first novel for a simple reason. “I grew up in a coastal town, and I liked pirates,” he said. His two latest novels were inspired by a strange story he heard from a

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 33



former girlfriend, he said, about a spy who had Alzheimer’s disease. The story involved a successful financier who’d traveled around the world on business, Thomson said. “He was like Archie Bunker—a xenophobic, jingoistic American— and he spoke only English,” Thomson said. “Unfortunately, he developed early-onset Alzheimer’s.” Thomson’s friend told him she had attended a Thanksgiving dinner party with the man’s son. “The dad was there, and all of a sudden he started talking in fluent French,” Thomson said. “Then he switched to fluent German.” Those at the party, Thomson said, concluded that the man’s business had been a cover and that he must have been a spy. Thomson put the story to good use. Drummond Clark, one of the main characters in “Once a Spy” and “Twice a Spy,” is believed to be a retired appliance salesman. But when Drummond develops Alzheimer’s, his son Charlie realizes that his father has a mysterious past. Thomson has an interesting past himself—though not in the world of espionage. His resume includes something not many Americans can claim: He played semiprofessional baseball in France. “In 1986, I was on my junior year abroad in France, and I saw a poster about a Paris baseball team in a championship game,” he said. “They were playing Nice.” Thomson learned that French teams were “starved for Americans who could play baseball.”

“I had played in high school,” he said. “It seemed like a great opportunity with all the travel.” While Thomson enjoyed the experience, he downplays it. “Pretty much any American who’s ambulatory and can throw a ball could play in France,” he said. While the rules were the same as for American baseball, the game atmosphere was decidedly different, he said. “Most of the fans don’t know the

internet there. “Those are big distractions,” he said. Thomson’s inner muse didn’t draw him to his office. The classified ads did. “I liked this building,” he said. “It’s nice to have proximity to walk to Five Points to eat lunch.” Also, he said, smiling, “There’s a soda machine here. And I have an old car in need of fixing, and there are all these car shops around here.” ❖

rules,” he said, “So they have canned cheering that they play when somebody makes a good play.” Thomson is now working on his fourth book, “7 Grams of Lead.” The title, he said, comes from a term used by Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. “That was his ‘solution’ to problems—a bullet to the back of the head,” Thomson said. He’s working on the book at the office he’s had for seven years. He doesn’t have an office phone or the

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34 • Thursday, June 27, 2013


Meredith Wins USTA Tournament

Madeline Meredith of Vestavia Hills won the girls’ 14 segment of the 2013 Southern Boys & Girls’ 14 Closed tennis tournament which concluded June 27 in Macon, Ga. More than 160 competitors from nine southern states - Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee participated.   Meredith, a 5 seed, defeated the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on her way to the championship.., With her partner, Ally Bojczuk of Franklin, Tenn., Meredith was runner-up for the doubles championship.  Meredith currently trains at the Saviano Tennis Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Rebels Barnett Nominated for FCA Athlete of the Year

Anderson Barnett, a senior at Vestavia Hills High School was nominated by the Vestavia coaching staff as the 2012-13 FCA Athlete of the Year. Anderson, a three-year letterman was the starting center on the 2012-13 Rebel’s offensive line. Throughout the last four years of high school, Anderson attended and lead Bible studies for current athletes at Vestavia. He has also attended FCA camps in the summer

with Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson. The son of Michael and Linda Barnett, Anderson is planning to attend the University of Alabama in the fall and major in accounting.

The A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club will host the Bam Bam B’ham Jam youth basketball tournament for boys and girls ages 10-12 on July 13. The event is at the club’s South Park location, 2900 South Park Drive Southwest. The tournament honors the memory of Seth Fingerman, known as “Bam Bam.” According to club officials, Fingerman was 25 when he committed suicide in December 2012, depressed over his health and personal life. Basketball was his passion, and he always wanted to have a positive impact on kids through basketball, officials said. Fingerman helped his high school basketball team at Jefferson Christian Academy to win two state championships and was tournament MVP his senior year. A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Clubs inspire and enable young people in the Birmingham metro area, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring adults through sports, fine arts, camps and leadership programs. Fingerman’s family, including his parents Cathy Fingerman and Dr. Irwin Fingerman, his brother Levi and his sister Shera, are recruiting volunteers to staff the tournament. A Facebook page, Bam Bam B’ham Jam, has been set up, and online donations can be made at the A.G. Gaston website, donate/. Net proceeds will help erect new bleachers for the clubs.

From Back Cover

The new coach said Hoover fans can expect an aggressive team, both in attitude and style of play. “I like to be aggressive on the base paths and in everything we do,” Wright said. “I believe in keeping our opponents a little off-balance.” Wright paid tribute to her predecessor. “I do feel like I’m following a

Mudcats Win State Title

The Mountain Brook Mudcats 11U Baseball Team won the USSSA 11U A State Championship in Fultondale on June 9. The Mudcats finished the State Tournament with a 5-1 record while beating the Spain Park Jaguars 10-1 in the finals.  The Mudcats were also runners up of the USSSA Sub-State Championship held in Cullman on June 2. 

The Mudcats are, from left, kneeling: Mac Lidikay and Mac Scott.  Standing: Jack Cushman, Will Yarbro, Aaron Vajda, Alex Gauld,, Thomas Latimer, Beau Hubbard and Emerson Richie.  Back: Ryan Slaten and Edward Berry.  The Mudcats are coached by Patrick Hubbard, Jimmy Gauld, Todd Richie and Allan Vajda. 

Birmingham Flight Claims Fourth grade Basketball Championship

The Birmingham Flight won the 4th Grade YBOA Alabama State Championship in May.

Gaston Tourney Honors Birmingham Athlete



legend in Coach Brown,” she said. “He was Hoover’s coach when I was in high school and had already built the program into a powerhouse. His championship seasons are the standards I’ll be measured by, and rightly so.” Success in softball seems to be embedded in Wright’s genetic makeup. In high school, she earned all-state honors as a pitcher while leading Mortimer Jordan to the Class 5A state crown in 1999. She was named Gatorade Player of the Year in

The team members are from left, front: Garrett Smith, Vestavia; Collin Chappell, Hayden; Zack Tucker, Hoover; Marcus Williams, Hoover and DJ Fairley, Hoover. Back: Coach Mark Smith, Chip Culpepper, Hoover; Will Crowder, Gardendale; Colby Carter, Hoover and Coach Brent Carter. Not pictured:  Hudson Wood, Vestavia.

Rebelettes Win 8U Girls’ Softball League Title

The Rebelettes playing in the 8U Recreational Youth League in the Vestavia Hills Girls Softball Association beat the Bombers in the semi-finals and in dramatic fashion overcame a 10-6 deficit to beat a very good Purple Panthers team 11-10 in the championship game. Team members are, from left, front: Anna Lockhart-Marchese, Emma Mitchell, Jordan Collar, Cristina Jaimes, Sofia Willey, Christiana Belcher, Ella Gallaspy, Abby Gallasp and Lilli Myers. Back: Erik Marchese, Chris Willey, Michelle J. Belcher, Shawn Collar and James Gallaspy.

Alabama for 1999 and 2000. Wright accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama, where she helped the Crimson Tide reach four NCAA regional tournaments and the College World Series in 2003. She earned a spot on the Academic AllSEC team in 2004. Before taking the Mountain Brook job four years ago, Wright coached briefly at the collegiate level, with short stints at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and the College of Charleston. Wright said her passion for soft-

ball was the key to her accomplishments with the Spartan program. “Mountain Brook has had a lot of success with other sports, so maybe softball didn’t get the publicity that some of the others did,” she said. “When I got there, it was important to be an advocate for the game. I thought that if I was passionate for softball, it would be contagious for the girls.” Although Wright said she has had the opportunity to meet with only a few of her Hoover players, she has

already hit the ground running in her new job. “I haven’t moved into my office yet, but I’m already working,” she said. “I’ll be busy this summer with camps and tournaments. I’m very excited about this next step.” Brown wished his successor the best. “We had a really young team this year, but there was a lot of talent on the field,” he said. “Erin is coming into a good situation. I think she’ll do very well.”


From Back Cover

ly as it began, with fall practice beginning nearly a month before Labor Day. Is the new routine a good thing? I’m not sure. I’ve always believed the old adage that idleness can be the devil’s workshop, but the pendulum can swing too far the other way as well. If I had my way, there would be a two- to three-week unwritten moratorium (maybe the first half of June) on all sports camps, games, etc. in the summer to just give kids time to themselves. They could go on family trips, participate in church activities, do chores around the house or just hang out at the local swimming pool. After that, the breakneck pace could resume with batteries fully recharged. Just call it a mental health break for everybody.


From Back Cover

inside of the mail sacks,” Coffee recalled years later. “The boxcar wound up carrying about 100 people. They were letting people on to ride who were stranded because of the snowstorm.” The cold and crowded trip was worth the effort, as Coffee saw the Tide upset the heavily-favored Rebels 12-7. Sometimes leaving the game was almost as entertaining as going to the game. In 1986, Coffee attended the Kickoff Classic in New Jersey’s Giants Stadium that pitted Alabama against Ohio State. After the game, Coffee and a small group of companions hung around the Crimson Tide dressing room to congratulate the players after a hard-fought 16-10 victory. The only problem was, the shuttle bus that was supposed to return him and his friends to the hotel had left the stadium nearly an hour earlier. What happened next sounds like a “Twilight Zone” plot. As the crowds outside the dressing room began to disperse, a lone bus, nearly empty, rumbled across the Giants Stadium parking lot, passing by small groups of waiting spectators. The bus stopped right in front of Coffee and his party. Coffee led the way as he and his friends hopped on the bus. The driver didn’t ask for tokens, money or even where the new riders were going. “The main thing was to be calm and act like you know what you’re doing,” Coffee said. “The only thing we could do was get on that son-ofa-gun.” The story got even stranger. The mystery bus’s first stop was at Coffee’s hotel. He and his party got off without saying a word to anyone. “It was like we asked the Lord for a bus, and He gave us one,” Coffee said. Coffee’s penchant for being at the right place at the right time extended beyond Alabama football games. In the early 1970s, he bluffed his way on to the set of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” First, he got

Thursday, June 27, 2013 • 35



There are a couple of other reforms that I would institute as well, one regarding the season that just ended and one regarding the season just ahead. To be blunt, the high school baseball and softball seasons are too long. Most schedules begin in mid-February and go all the way to May. February is often a month of cold, bitter weather and even occasional snow. Baseball is an incredible game, but it simply wasn’t meant to be played in cold temperatures. In the 1970s, the high school varsity season didn’t begin until after spring break. Today, teams have completed roughly a third of their schedules before spring break even begins. And incredibly, very few games even count in the area standings. For example, excluding post-season play, Homewood’s baseball Patriots played 32 games in 2013. Of those,

only eight were area games. Why not start the season in mid-March, play about 30 games overall and expand the areas so at least half the games would actually count in the standings? The same situation holds true for softball. Counting post-season action, Briarwood, for instance, played 43 games. In the Lady Lions’ case, only six counted in area play. Under the present format, a team like Homewood theoretically could have gone 24-8, with all its losses coming against area opponents, and finished dead last. There’s something wrong with such a setup. The other major changes I would make would be in football. Let’s concede that we will never go back to the really old days, when practice started around Labor Day and the first game was played on the second or third Friday in September. Those days are gone, thanks to the advent

of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s super popular and profitable playoff format. But let’s do this, and it’s really so simple. Let’s bring back the longtime standby known as the open date. College teams have open dates. Professional teams have them. Alabama high school teams do not have them. During Hoover’s successful 2012 run for the state 6A championship, the Bucs played 15 weeks in a row with no break. Not even the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens went so long with no relief. So where do you add the break? That’s simple, too. Just reduce the regular season to nine games. The last game of most regular seasons has become kind of a throwaway match anyway. Often, it’s played against a team in another classification with the outcome having no bearing on the playoffs. So why not just make that an

open date for everybody? Then start the playoffs the next week, with all the participants having had a week off to rest and regroup. One last word about football: Can we please get rid of the present region alignments? Why don’t Hoover, Spain Park and Vestavia Hills compete in the same region? Why is Hoover in a region with three schools from the Tuscaloosa area? Why are Spain Park and Oak Mountain in a region with such far-off schools as Stanhope Elmore and Wetumpka? Hopefully when the next realignment comes in 2014-15, the powersthat-be in Montgomery will actually look at a map of Alabama before drawing up the new regions. I realize that when it comes to high school athletics in our state, we are never going back to the 1970s. But just a few common-sense tweaks in the calendar and in scheduling could

on a restricted elevator by convincing the security guard that they were cousins. “I read his name tag and said, ‘Cousin whatever-his-name-was, when is the last time you’ve been to Alabama?’’’ Coffee said. “He said he hadn’t been there in a long time.” After getting off the elevator, Coffee calmly walked into the Green Room, where Carson’s guests for the evening waited. On deck that night were comedian George Jessel

two Phi Gam brothers traveled to New Orleans to watch the Crimson Tide slip by Tulane 7-6. That was the first of the 781 consecutive games he attended. Decades later, Coffee remembered the first game in his streak vividly. “It was so rainy you could barely see the field,” he said. “Charley Compton (a star Tide tackle) got some teeth knocked loose. He came to the sidelines, borrowed a pair of pliers from the manager and pulled ’em out.” The 1946 season was also the year Coffee first saw his all-time favorite player, Alabama’s jump-passing AllAmerican halfback, Harry Gilmer. “We were playing Tennessee in Knoxville, and the Vols beat him up so badly that they just about killed him,” Coffee said. “Tennessee won the game, and when it was over, fans of both schools gave Gilmer a standing ovation.” Despite all the travel and good times, Coffee still found time to build and sustain a successful business. While still a college student, he founded Dick Coffee Enterprises and began publishing the “Doin’s,” a series of slick free-circulation publications that advertised entertainment and dining establishments in major cities throughout the South. Management of the publications was taken over by Coffee’s son Dick III a few years ago. But Coffee’s best-known publication may be the little red paperback book Alabama residents have seen in restaurants, barber shops and dry cleaning shops since 1950: “Dick Coffee’s Football Guide.” The annual publication is jammed with information about the upcoming football season with emphasis on Alabama, Auburn and the Southeastern Conference. The book is distributed free of charge but is packed with paid advertising. Coffee once admitted he couldn’t comprehend the book’s enormous popularity with fans. “I think it’s because most people can’t believe that anything is free anymore,” he said in 1986. “Once I took them to New York, and I could have sold them for $5 each.” The book has occasionally been

the source of mild controversy. In its early years, the book’s cover would feature top players from Alabama and Auburn or pretty coeds. But one year, he decided to feature only one person on the cover. “I ran Bear Bryant by himself, and I thought the Auburn people were going to hang me,” he recalled with a laugh. After that season, Tide and Tiger players were featured on all covers of the guide. Coffee almost certainly enjoyed his final two Alabama games. He was in Atlanta for the Crimson Tide’s

dramatic 32-28 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game followed by Bama’s 42-14 blowout of Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Coffee, who passed away last Friday, had planned to attend the Tide’s season opener against Virginia Tech in Atlanta in late August. “The main thing is, if you’re not having fun doing something, what’s the point?” he often said. Dick Coffee jammed a lot of fun into 91 years. And he made sure those around him were having fun, too.

Coffee’s penchant for being at the right place at the right time extended beyond Alabama football games. In the early 1970s, he bluffed his way on to the set of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” and chicken magnate Col. Harland Sanders. “The security people were watching me, but I just laughed them off,” Coffee said. When Carson finally arrived, Coffee offered him a sure-fire icebreaker--the secret handshake of Phi Gamma Delta, the fraternity that they had been members of at different colleges. “We started singing the “Here’s to Good Old Delta” song,” Coffee said. Coffee was a true believer that clothes do make the man. His dress of choice, regardless of day, event or climate, was a suit and tie. “You can get in anywhere with a suit on,” he once said. “People automatically take you more seriously when you’re dressed up.” The Decatur native’s long trail of fun and football began immediately after World War II, when, fresh out of the U.S. Army’s 10th Armored Division, he enrolled at the University of Alabama. Once arriving on campus, Coffee pledged Phi Gam and occasionally studied at the business school’s Bidgood Hall. On Sept. 28, 1946, Coffee and

Treadwell’s Barber Shop would like to invite you to stop by Wednesday, July 24, 2013 to wish J.T. Treadwell well.

2700 Culver Road • Mountain Brook Village 870-9210


Thursday, june 27, 2013


Coffee Run

Madeline Meredith of Vestavia Hills wins USTA tourney P. 34

Gaston basketball tournament honors Birmingham athlete P. 34

Legendary Fan Dies, But Memories Live on By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer


The late Dick Coffee with the OTMJ’s Lee Davis. Coffee attended 781 consecutive University of Alabama football games. Photo special to The Journal

The Wright Stuff Hoover Softball Begins New Era with Ex-MB coach By Lee Davis

Journal Sports Writer

Hoover softball will have a different look next spring. For 24 seasons, Jim Brown guided the Lady Bucs to a long procession of winning seasons, including five Class 6A state championships.

Brown won’t have a chance to earn that sixth brass ring. Last week, the school announced that Mountain Brook coach Erin Wright would lead its program in 2014. Wright, a former star at the University of Alabama, brought the Lady Spartan program into the spotlight in her three-year tenure before accepting the Hoover position on June 19. “It was really tough to leave Mountain Brook because of the wonderful girls and support staff I worked with there,” said Wright when contacted late last week. “But

he Pearly Gates of Heaven became a little more fun last week. Longtime Mountain Brook businessman and publisher Dick Coffee passed away June 21 at age 91, but the work-a-day world of commerce won’t be his lasting legacy. His real gift to the community was football–and fun. Between 1946 and 2013, Coffee attended 781 consecutive University of Alabama football games, regardless of weather or location. Whether the Crimson Tide was winning championships under Paul Bryant, Gene Stallings or Nick Saban or struggling through miserable seasons under J.B. Whitworth or Mike DuBose, Coffee was always there, rooting for his beloved alma mater. Nearly seven and a half decades of attending football games is an impressive record. But what made Coffee’s streak so unique was the way he did it: always with a good story, and more importantly, a good laugh. A classic example of a memorable trip was a journey to New Orleans to see Alabama face Ole Miss in the 1964 Sugar Bowl. The train was a popular mode of travel to the Big Easy in those days, and Coffee planned to ride the rails to the game. Unfortunately the train was overbooked, forcing Coffee to ride in a boxcar. Making the bumpy trip even more problematic was a severe cold snap that hit the South, resulting in heavy snow. Unwittingly, the U.S. Postal Service came to the rescue. “The only way we had to get warm was to get

Summer Breeze

Changes Could Improve High School Sports


See coffee, page 35

feeder for our program. I believe this was Hoover calling–one of great days are ahead for us.” the greatest traditional powers in Wright admitAlabama softball. I ‘Whether it’s football, ted that the prescouldn’t say no.” sure to win at Despite softball or whatever, Hoover would Hoover’s winning you are expected to be intense and past, the program win championships. I immediate. had been on a “That’s the downward slide like to compete, and way it should be in recent years. I like to win. I don’t at a school like The decline led to know how to do it Hoover,” she Brown’s departure, said. “Whether but Wright was any differently.’ it’s football, softconfident that the Erin Wright, new Hoover High ball or whatever, tide could be turned softball coach you are expected quickly. to win championships. I like to com“The talent level is huge. Coach pete, and I like to win. I don’t know Brown didn’t leave the cupboard how to do it any differently.” bare,” Wright said. “The Hoover See wright, page 34 park program is also a tremendous

An evenIng of CulInAry CompeTITIon for ChArITy Saturday July 13th 2013 • 6:00 PM at

Top Birmingham Chefs face off Iron Chef Style: Haller Magee/Satterfield’s • Jeremy Downey/Bistro V • Sean Butler/Food studio B • James Pruitt/Todd English P.U.B.

Lee Davis

chool is out. Vacations have started. And aside from an occasional story, the high school sports news cycle is comparatively slow. The early weeks of summer are always a good time for reflection, in both personal and professional affairs. It can also be a good time to look at where we’ve come and where we are going in the sports world. Perhaps the most interesting thoughts may involve how things have changed from when I was in high school 40-plus years ago to where they are today. For example, as June of 1973 arrived, high school athletes would generally take family beach trips, get part-time jobs, go on church retreats or play summer league baseball. Football players may have been asked to perform “voluntary” workouts, which in those days were truly voluntary. But other than that, it was a relatively open and free summer until the start of fall practice, which usually was the second or third week of August. Today, of course, is far different. There is some time allotted for the family vacation. For most, however, the days of summer are anything but lazy and hazy. There is an endless itinerary of travel ball and specialty sports camps. Football players have workouts (maybe now not so voluntary) and the new craze, seven-onseven games, in addition to specialty camps. Summer ends almost as quickSee Davis, page 35

Proceeds will benefit • Rotary Inter-

national END POLIO NOW & Clean Water for the World • Vestavia Hills Debate and Math Teams • Local Rotary District Disaster Relief Fund Wine Tasting sponsored by Western Supermarkets Jerry Tracey WVTM 13 Masters of Ceremonies

For tickets ($55/person) and additional information go to Exquisite Dining * Entertainment * Silent Auction

June 27 full issue  

OTMJ June 27, 2013