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




VOL. 22 #6


The Wynfrey Hotel getting $20 million renovation, new owner and new name


The Gospel


ʻNight at the Oscarsʼ raises money for Mitchellʼs Place


Mardi Gras-themed Red Nose Ball benefits Camp Smile-A-Mile


Easter Happenings

See page 11 for a sampling of things to do Easter weekend in the Over the Mountain area.

Working Late

Richard E. Simmons III of Homewood is the author of “Reliable Truth,” a book about the validity of the Bible.

Simmons’ Book Examines Historical Validity of the Bible


Story and photo by Keysha Drexel • Journal editor

s millions of Christians around the world prepare to observe Easter next weekend, a Homewood author is hoping those gathered to celebrate a Risen Christ on March 31 know that the events we’ve learned about in Sunday school really happened. And the reason we know those events actually happened, says Richard E. Simmons III in his new book, “Reliable Truth: The Validity of the Bible in an Age of Skepticism,” is because the Bible is more than a powerful piece of ancient literature--it is a factual account of actual events. “I truly believe there is very compelling

evidence to demonstrate that the Bible is historically accurate,” he said. To come to that conclusion, Simmons spent 30 years gathering evidence after questioning whether the Bible had been altered over time and how we know it is a divine book. “I never had a real crisis of faith, but in college and after college, I was troubled by the fact that I was told to believe in the Bible but I was never really told why,” he said. To answer that question, Simmons read everything he could find on the validity of the Bible. His new book reflects the wide scope of sources that his research

See GOSPEL, page 10

Pondering the Pope’s Role Rev. Father McDonald Talks about the Pontiff’s Place in Today’s World BY KEYSHA DREXEL

Just what the doctor ordered Tommy Amason PAGE 22

Growing a new career Frances Gorrie PAGE 22


Last week, white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel signaling that the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals gathered inside had elected a new pope. Pope Emeritus Benedict triggered the election in February with his decision to abdicate, becom-

See POPE, page 10

Piggly Wigglyʼs patriarch Stanley Virciglio PAGE 22


2 • Thursday, March 21, 2013





arishoners at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church are busy making preparations for the 15th annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival on April 12-13. Along with the usual offerings of tasty Lebanese food and traditional dance and musical performances, this year’s event will include the inaugural Saint Elias Cedar 5K Run. For more details, see page 6.

World Wide Windows


Samia Michael supervises the cooking for the annual Lebanese food and cultural festival. Photo special to The Journal

ON OTMJ.COM See photos from the latest parties and events, browse our events calendar and submit your own news online.


Our annual preview of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders’ Parade of Homes. The latest trends in new home construction and new subdivisions Over the Mountain.


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March 21, 2013

Publisher: Maury Wald Editor: Keysha Drexel Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Office Manager: Christy Wald Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Lee Davis Staff Writer: Margaret Frymire 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. 6


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.

Was the ozone hole expanding? What look forward to long car trips, exactly were the launch codes for our new highways, new scenery, mid-range missile silos? new eateries to taste and try. It was like a test, like the lightning Traveling in the car is a little like round in a Twitter-based Trivial Pursuit being tucked away in a cozy isolafinal, and given that I wanted Harold to tion booth. keep his eyes on the road, I tried to see Unless, of course, you’ve brought it through. Really, I did, but my phone along your smartphone. skills must be linked to my map skills My phone is not all that smart. It and I wasn’t terribly successful. contains a short list of likely phone Actually, I think my ABI (Answers contacts, a few key photos, a select Brought In) came in at 30 percent, but group of upbeat tunes to entertain me I’m not letting that bother me. A little while I’m walking. Harold’s phone, on less movement, a little more time to the other hand, has become a CNN/DIY prepare, and I would have done better, savant. His four-inch universe contains though to be fair, I think my perfornewsfeeds and sports scores and reciSue Murphy mance was influenced by the fact that, pes for Italian beef. He carries games doggone it, I just wanted to look out the and video clips and an app that turns his phone into a flashlight. He has I wanted to wonder window. I wanted to see cows grazing in airline apps and hotel apps and what about the lives of peo- the pastures and vultures circling he doesn’t already have, he can find with his zippy online connection. ple in the houses we overhead (hopefully no relation). I wanted to read billboards and funny Or rather, I can. When we head passed, wonder where license plates. I wanted to wonder out on the open road, Harold is usually driving, which leaves me as all my fellow travelers about the lives of people in the houses we passed, wonder where all my chief information officer. I lost my were headed, wonder fellow travelers were headed, wonder navigator status after my remedial in the world anyone would drive map skills proved … well, unremewhy in the world any- why all the way from Ontario towing a diable, but Harold insists that, given one would drive all the minivan behind a giant RV. the right amount of encouragement I didn’t want to be looking at the and time before the next rest stop, I way from Ontario tow- World Wide Web. I wanted to be can find the answer to any question. It started out innocently enough. ing a minivan behind a looking at the world wide world. I don’t think I need to worry about A few miles into the trip, he’d turn giant RV. it anymore. My 30 percent perforto me and say, “Where is the nearmance pretty much knocked me out est Dunkin’ Donuts?” I’d plug in of CIO position. Now, if Harold has questions about the the query, scan the teeny, tiny print and track down the nuclear launch codes, he’ll just pull over and look them answer, hopefully before we passed the exit. up himself. But our last trip was nine hours long, providing way Okay by me. I’ll pull some Wheat Thins from the too much info-downtime. Would I add a new phone snack bag, pop in a James Taylor CD and in my mind, number to his contact list? Would I hook up his phone I’ll be goin’ to Carolina. Who knows, I might actually to the cord-thingamajig so we could hear his MP3 music be there … but I won’t know unless I look out the winthrough our radio? Had that blizzard made its way to the dow. ❖ Chicago area? Had such-and-such coach been fired yet?


What are you doing for Spring Break?

“I’m going to the beach, to Seagrove.” Lauren Marino Birmingham

“I’m headed to the mountains in North Carolina with my family.” Abigail McNabb North Shelby

“I’m going to St. Petersburg, Florida with eight of my closest friends. While we’re in Florida, we plan on hopping over to Harry Potter at Universal Studios.” Katherine Thomas Vestavia Hills

“I’m driving down to Orange Beach for some relaxation.” Trevor Starnes Homewood

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 3



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4 • Thursday, March 21, 2013

About Town


Turning Pain into Purpose After Losing Their Son, Couple Acts to Help Others By Keysha Drexel

ent person than when he went there,” Nancy said. “We had a really good few weeks with Todd after that, where he seemed like his old self, and we ommy and Nancy Parsons of really thought he was turning a corner Greystone have organized a in his battle with depression.” benefit walk they are hopThat battle started when their son ing will not only raise money for was a teenager, his parents said. a local mental health program but “He always kind of had anxiety will also help turn their loss into issues, whether it was anxiety about something that will help others. school or later, anxiety about work. The Allie Fun Walk on April 7 at He was not diagnosed, but we always Veterans Park on Valleydale Road thought he might have had ADD in Hoover will benefit Brookwood when he was younger,” Nancy said. Medical Auxiliary/Psychiatric Tommy said Todd also suffered Services through a fund the couple two concussions while playing youth set up in the name of their son, Todd, football in Hoover. who took his life in August at the “He had two concussions when he age of 28. The event is named after was about 12, and now they are comTodd’s beloved dog, Allie. ing out with all this research linking On Aug. 15, the day after they head injuries with depression and suiwent through what is arguably the cide,” Tommy said. “But back then, most horrific experience parents can we had no idea.” endure, Nancy and Tommy were at After he graduated from high Brookwood asking how they could school, Todd’s depression manifested help psychiatric patients at the center. in different ways, his father said. “We felt an immediate need to try “He couldn’t really stick and turn our pain into a with anything, whether Allie Fun Walk purpose. We want to do it was school or a job. everything we can to make When: April 7, 1-5 p.m. He always seemed to be sure other families never Where: Hoover's Veterans searching for something, to have to go through this,” Park on Valleydale Road be looking for that happy Tommy said. Details: The event will raise moment,” Tommy said. On Aug. 14, Nancy, money for the psychiatric About three years ago, who teaches music at Our programs at Brookwood Todd went through a difLady of Sorrows Catholic Medical Center through ficult divorce, developed a School, came home from the Todd Michael Parsons painful health condition and work and couldn’t find Memorial Fund. Pets are had to move back in with Todd, who had been batwelcome. The cost is $20 per his parents. tling depression for years. person. “It was a dark, dark time “I had just seen him More info: Visit www. for him, and I think he felt at lunch, and he seemed Todd and Allie like he had lost control of fine. He came by to see his life,” Tommy said. me at work, and I told him But in between those dark periods more than $3,000 for the psychiatric I would see him later that day. That’s when depression changed his personservices department. The money was the last time I saw him alive,” she used to buy art supplies for patients to ality, Todd continued to be the life of said. the party his family and friends had use during art therapy. After not finding Todd in his known. About two months before bedroom or anywhere in the house, “There was a great spirit about Todd died, he spent three days at Nancy discovered his body in the Todd. People loved being around him. Brookwood being treated for ongoing garage. When he wasn’t in those dark places, depression, his parents said. “Shock took over. I was just he loved life,” said Jason Cannon of “They changed his medication and in shock. There’s no other way to North Shelby, who was Todd’s best when he came home, he was a differdescribe it,” Nancy said.


Journal editor

Nancy said she watched her husband fall apart immediately after they discovered that their only son had taken his own life. “It was unbearable, but I knew I had to be strong,” she said. As word spread about Todd’s tragic death, the couple said they were overwhelmed with calls from friends and family members who wanted to send flowers. “That’s when we decided to partner with Brookwood. Flowers are wonderful and we really appreciated the thoughtfulness of everyone that sent flowers, but we wanted to do something more lasting, something that would honor Todd,” Tommy said. So the couple set up the Todd Michael Parsons Memorial Fund and made Brookwood Medical Auxiliary/ Psychiatric services the beneficiary of that fund. In October, about two months after he died, the Todd Parsons Memorial Fund Sporting Clay Event at Selwood Farms raised

Nancy Parsons shares a laugh with her son, Todd. Todd lost his battle with depression last year and now his parents are working to raise awareness about mental illness. Photo special to The Journal

friend since he was in the ninth grade. One of the things Todd loved most about life, Jason said, was helping other people. Todd went on several mission trips with his church, St. Mark’s United Methodist in Vestavia Hills, Jason said. “He was talking about going on another mission trip during one of our last conversations. That’s when he was the happiest--when he was helping other people. He said it made him feel more like himself,” Jason said. While his family and friends had watched him struggle with depression for several years, it never occurred to any of them, his mother said, that he would end his own life. “Even in his lowest points, he would tell me that he would never do that, that he would never commit suicide,” Nancy said. “That’s why I know that in August, something must have snapped and he just couldn’t fight anymore.” Jason said he and Todd had lunch about a week before Todd died and that he felt Todd had turned a corner thanks to his time at Brookwood.

“From the way he was talking, it seemed like they had helped him get on a path of resolving some issues and that he felt like there was hope for the future,” Jason said. “I never had any sort of clue, verbally, emotionally or otherwise that Todd would even consider suicide.” Tommy and Nancy said they hope the Allie Fun Walk and other fundraisers they have planned will raise awareness about depression and mental health issues. “Our mission is to get the funds to not only help patients but to educate people that this (depression) is a disease and we have to talk about it. We can’t push these conversations into the background anymore,” Tommy said. Tommy and Nancy said devoting their time and energy into helping psychiatric patients at Brookwood has made coping with the loss of their son easier. “If we can help just one person, just one family, then we’re making a difference, and working towards making a difference is what keeps us going,” Tommy said.❖

pianists from all over the state will play concerts March 22-24. Performances will be held every hour on the hour during the weekend. Festival times are 5-8 p.m. on March 22, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on March 23 and 1-6 p.m. on March 24. Alabama Piano Gallery is at 1425 Montgomery Highway in Vestavia Hills. For more information, call 822-3331.


Save the Date Homewood

Generation Dog Benefit March 21, 5 p.m. Four Seasons Gallery As part of Four Seasons’ ARTreach series to benefit local nonprofits, the gallery is hosting Generation Dog. The fundraiser on March 21 will include live music, wine tasting and art supporting furry friends. Featured artists will be Adelaide Booth and Susan Lanier. The event will benefit the Greater Birmingham Susan Lanier Humane Society. For more information, visit or North Shelby

Tiny Treasures Dig March 21, 10 a.m. Oak Mountain State Park Oak Mountain State Park will host the Tiny Treasures Dig on March 21 at 10 a.m. Come dig in the dirt and turn over rocks to see tiny creatures. Meet at the campground pavilion. Bring digging tools but no large shovels. The event is free after paid park admission of $1-$3. Birmingham

“Music, Migration and Industrial Birmingham” by Bobby Horton March 21, 5:30-7 p.m. Vulcan Park and Museum The Birmingham Revealed series continues at Vulcan Park and Museum on March 21 with a presentation by Bobby Horton. The cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m. and Horton will present

“Music, Migration and Industrial Birmingham from 6-7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Admission price includes light refreshments and entrance Bobby Horton into the museum for the program. For more information, call 9331409 or visit Vestavia Hills

Keys to a Miracle Festival March 22-24 The Alabama Piano Gallery The Alabama Piano Gallery will host a charity piano festival benefiting Children’s of Alabama. More than 20


Paws in the Gardens March 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aldridge Gardens Aldridge Gardens in Hoover will present the fourth annual Paws in the Gardens on March 23 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The event will include food and dog-friendly vendors. Admission is $10 per dog; people get in free. Proceeds will go to the Shelby County Humane Society. For more information, visit or call 682-8019.

Hikes for Tykes March 23, 10 a.m. Birmingham Botanical Gardens As part of its “Get Into The Gardens” program, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will host Hikes For Tykes on March 23 at 10 a.m. The free walk encourages preschool children and their parents to engage in an outdoor educational adventure. For more information, visit Vestavia Hills

Yard of the Month Judging March 25-29 Vestavia Hills Neighborhoods The Vestavia Hills Beautification Board will be out and about in the city’s neighborhoods March 25-29 to look for the best yards for its monthly award. Board members will be judging yards for the spring Yard of the Month award.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 5







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

6 • Thursday, March 21, 2013



Lebanese Festival Adds 5K Food and Cultural Event Set for April


t. Elias Maronite Catholic Church will celebrate its 15th annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival 10 a.m-9 p.m. April 12-13. New this year will be the inaugural Saint Elias Cedar 5K Run on April 13 at 8:30 am. The run will benefit the SUKI (Spreading Unconditional Kindness Intentionally) Foundation, a nonprofit established to raise money and awareness for Rett Syndrome. The race will begin at the church, 836 8th St. South. The course runs through the historic Glen Iris neighborhood. Admission to the festival entertainment and tour events is free and open to the public. Traditional Lebanese food will be available both days. “St. Elias has shared 25 percent of proceeds from the annual event amounting to over $275,000 in the past 14 years with area charities as a way for St. Elias to give back and demonstrate, by example, the Christian value of giving to those in need,” said Paul Bolus, festival cochairman. Lebanese delicacies offered during the two-day festival include baked kibbee, rolled grape leaves, spinach

pies, baked kibbee and falafel sandwiches, tabouleh (Lebanese salad), grilled Lebanese lemon chicken, loobia (green beans), rice, hummus and pita bread. Ample, comfortable dining tables

Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival & 5K

When: April 12-13, 10 a.m-9 p.m. Where: St, Elias Maronite Catholic Church Details: The 15th annual event will feature traditional Lebanese food, a tour, entertainment and a 5K run. More info: Visit www.stelias. org. and seating will be available in and outside the church. “Traditional, healthy Lebanese food is an essential part of our culture and is prepared by members using recipes handed down for generations. Great care and preparation is taken with the time-intensive preparation of the food, including kibbee, the most popular dish,” said LaVonne Williamson, chairman of heritage and


• 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



Jim Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 GOLDEN VOICES FAX: 205-824-1246 MOUNTAIN BROOK Oct. 2010 Golden Voices Choir Concert This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for March the 24, 4 p.m. Nov. 4 2010 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. Canterbury United Methodist

TOTALLY UPDATED Please make sure all information is correct, NEW OPEN FLOOR PLAN including address and phone number! Incredible Bluff Park House!

Please initialgo andtofax back within 24 hours. For more information

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.

James Harwell

Thank for your prompt 2011 Salesyou Associate of the Year Over the Mountain Office


1220 Alford Avenue • 205.281.4731

Kathleen Boehme, left, and Katrine Aboujaoude make meat pies in preparation for the 15th annual Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival at St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church. This yearʼs event will be April 12-13 and for the first time, will include a 5K run. Photo special to The Journal

tent from 6-9:30 p.m. nightly. Hourly guided tours, starting on the front steps of the historic St. Elias Church with its renovated interior, will be available from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and self-guided tours may be taken from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. both days. There will be a 5-6 p.m. exclusion Saturday during the Saturday Vigil Liturgy, which all are welcome to attend. A special exhibit of artifacts and information about St. Elias Church will be displayed in the Heritage Room during the festival. Two silent auctions will feature a

variety of offerings, including catered Lebanese dinners, vacation packages, collector items and gift certificates to restaurants and events in the Birmingham area. Items for sale in the Heritage Room and the St. Elias Booth include cookbooks, coin dancing belts, hats, T-shirts and cups. Credit cards and debit cards will be accepted. For more information and to register for the Saint Elias Cedar 5K Run, visit search/event.aspx?id=19464. ❖

Save the Date Garrison Keillor: A Brand-New Perspective March 25, 7-11 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center Samford University’s Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center presents Garrison Keillor: A Brand-New Perspective on March 25 beginning at 7 p.m. The Keillor Garrison Keillor program is described as “A man at 70 relives the good times — and

Call 205-542-6094

To: From:

cultural information for the festival. Expanded parking will include two offsite parking lots available Friday evening and all day and night Saturday from UAB Remote 1 Parking, 608 Eighth St., South, directly across University Boulevard and next to the car dealership, and from UAB parking 15R on 10th Avenue South, next to Epic School. Buses will run from both lots on both evenings from 5-9 p.m. Prices for food will range from $3 for a la carte spinach pies, meat pies and grape leaves to $10 and up for plates of food. Desserts include a variety of baklawa, kiak (Lebanese sugar cookies) and Lebanese ice cream. Prices will range from $2 for most desserts to $15 for a dessert sampler. Friday lunchtime delivery will be available by calling 252-3867, or place deliveries online at www.stelias. org for any delivery over $75 to the Southside or downtown areas. Traditional dances will be performed on an indoor stage beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the afternoon and evening. The New York-based Amin Sultan Lebanese Band will perform on stage in a large

Church “Life Every Voice,” a free concert by Tuskegee University’s Golden Voices Concert Choir will be held March 24 at 4 p.m. at Canterbury United Methodist Church at 350 Overbrook Road in Mountain Brook. This celebration is in recognition of Birmingham’s 50 years of progress in civil rights. The Tuskegee choir was first formed by Booker T. Washington in 1886. Fore more information, visit or call 871-4693.

the music that brings it all back: hymns, jingles, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, pop tunes, limericks, rock ‘n roll, Beethoven, love sonnets, rags, blues, rousers, with Richard Dworsky, Rob Fisher, and Christine DiGiallonardo.” Tickets are $25-$55. For more information, call 726-2835 or visit wrightcenter. BIRMINGHAM

Big Benefit Run March 26, 6 p.m. Good People Brewing Co. Each month, Fleet Feet hosts a Big Benefit Run; the March event will benefit Hand in Paw. The casual three-mile run and one-mile fun run/walk will begin and end at Good People Brewing Company, 114 14th St. South in Birmingham.

Registration begins at 5:15 p.m. The run starts at 6 p.m. Pay $15 at the door and receive a free T-shirt and a free beer. For more information, visit www. BIRMINGHAM

Day of Giving March 27 Jersey Mike’s Subs Locations The Lakeshore Foundation is joining forces with three Jersey Mike’s Subs restaurants in the Birmingham area for the third annual Day of Giving on March 27. All three Birmingham Jersey Mike’s restaurants will donate 100 percent of the day’s sales to the Lakeshore Foundation. For more information on the event’s charity partners, visit www.jerseymikes. com/mog.




Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 7


Dogwood Festival Luncheon April 4, 11 a.m. Vestavia Hills Civic Center The Dogwood Festival Luncheon will be April 4 in the Dogwood Room at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. The event starts at 11 a.m. with catering by Cafe Iz. There will be door prizes and raffles with tables decorated by Vestavia Hills Beautification Board members. Tickets are $20; table reservations are available. To donate a raffle item or door prize, call Casey

O’Dell at 913-3367. For more information or to buy tickets, email The Dogwood Festival,, which started in Vestavia Hills in 1964, signals the beginning of spring with a month-long series of events including the luncheon, pageants, parties and more. Members of the Vestavia Hills Beautification Board get ready for the annual Dogwood Festival Luncheon on April 4. From left: Casey OʼDell, Sharon Collins and Denise Oliver. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel


Brides Against Breast Cancer March 29-30 Wynfrey Hotel Brides Against Breast Cancer, a national nonprofit that tours the country selling donated wedding gowns and giving the proceeds to cancer programs, will be at the Wynfrey Hotel at the Riverchase Galleria on March 29-30. Tickets for the March 29 event are $20. The March 30 event is free for brides and their guests. To volunteer, visit http://babcvolunteerbirminghamal2013. To donate a gown, visit For tickets or more information, call 871-721-4673. MOUNTAIN BROOK

Celebrate Spring and Support Slade March 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. A’mano A’mano is hosting a Mountain Brook Village event called Celebrate Spring and Support Slade on March 30 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event will include an outdoor art show featuring local artists. There will also be a moonwalk for children, an appearance by the Easter Bunny and food trucks. A portion of the day’s sales will be donated to St. Jude’s Research Hospital in support of Slade Anderson. Slade, a student at Crestline Elementary was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Nov. 2012. For more information, call 871-9093. BIRMINGHAM

Rumpshaker 5K March 30, 8 a.m. Sloss Furnaces The fifth annual Rumpshaker 5K and one-mile Bunny Run will be at Sloss Furnaces on March 30. The 5K starts at 8 a.m., and the Bunny Run begins at 9 a.m. The event, which raises awareness about colorectal cancer and the importance of regular colon screenings, will include food, Easter activities, a parade and children’s activities. HOMEWOOD

Tuck In Your Neighbor March 30-April 6 Eighteenth Street Orientals Tuck In Your Neighbor is a drive for new linens and other necessities for the Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center. The weeklong event will kick off with a party on March 30 from 9-11 a.m. at Eighteenth Street Orientals, 1808 29th Ave. South in Homewood. The wish list includes sheets, pillowcases, bedtime storybooks, waterproof mattress covers, teddy bears, blankets, bath mats, towels and shower curtains. For places to purchase these items and the drop off locations, email Patricia Howard at

You wore bell bottoms, listened to disco and did the hustle. Surely a colonoscopy won’t embarrass you. It’s normal to be uncomfortable at the thought of a colonoscopy. But staying healthy is nothing to be embarrassed about, and a colonoscopy is one of the best ways to do it. It’s fast, it’s almost painless, and the typical person only needs one every 10 years.* So if you’re over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, see your doctor. Honestly, a colonoscopy really isn’t a big thing. And if it’s caught early enough, colon cancer doesn’t have to be a big thing, either.

Talk to your physician or visit to learn more and request an informational brochure.

*The American Cancer Society recommends both men and women at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin receiving a colonoscopy every 10 years at age 50. But you should talk with your doctor about your own health and your family history so that you can choose the best screening plan for you.

68454_TRIN_Colonoscopy_8x10c.indd 1

3/5/13 11:00 AM

8 • Thursday, March 21, 2013



A Dozen Last-Minute Ideas For Spring Breaking BY LYNN GRISARD FULLMAN



ike lightning bugs darting in the evening breeze, the days of spring break are bolting away. Too bad that these days of freedom and rejuvenation don’t creep like the dreary days of winter. Whether you stayed in town or returned early from a getaway, take advantage of these final few days to explore sites, events and attractions in

and near Birmingham. Here are some suggestions: ❊ Through May 11, “Titans of the Ice Age” is showing at the IMAX Theater at McWane Science Center ( The movie takes you back 10,000 years to frozen landscapes that existed before modern civilization. Sit back, look up and see saber-toothed cats, cave bears, wolves, woolly mammoths--all being hunted by prehistoric humans. As the movie unfolds, take a closer

look at the ceiling and ponder many of today’s issues: environmental sustainability, adaptation, survival, extinction and the Earth, her resources and inhabitants. ❊ Through April 7, you can come face to face with AfricanAmerican Face Jugs on display at the Birmingham Museum of Art ( The exhibition, entitled Face Jugs: Art and Ritual in 19th Century South Carolina, includes 23 clay vessels crafted by AfricanAmerican slaves in the South between 1850 and 1880. The jugs are noted for wide eyes and bared teeth. Admission is free to the museum, but there is a charge for this exhibit. ❊ On each month’s fourth Saturdays, the Southern Museum of Flight (www.southernmuseumofflight. org) hosts aviation-themed movies at 10 a.m. Showing March 23 is the documentary “The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club” that chronicles the life and extraordinary times of aviation pioneer Florence Lowe “Pancho” Barnes, one of the most colorful and accomplished women pilots of the earliest 20th century. Arrive at 9:30 a.m. for pre-flight education presentations. Seats are limited; concessions are available. After the movie, roam through the museum’s kid-friendly places, including a playroom, flight simulators (for ages 12 and older), a hangar with a real airplane for kids to climb in and an open classroom with toys, a room with vending and seating and outdoor picnic tables within the shadow of an F-4 Phantom Jet. Movie admission is free with museum admission. ❊ On March 22 at Oak Mountain State Park ( OakMountain/), you can learn about frogs and toads during a 10 a.m. presentation, “Ribbit Ribbit.” Held at the park’s campground pavilion, the presentation is free with park admission: $3 for adults and $1 for ages 6-11 and for ages 62 years and older. Stick around after the presentation to explore the park that includes a BMX track plus more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. With 9,940 acres, the park has picnic facilities, two fishing lakes, pedal boat and canoe rentals, a playing field, shoreline for bank fishing, a boat launch, an 18-hole golf course with pro shop and driving range and a demonstration farm with goats, sheep, ducks, peacocks and donkeys. ❊ On March 24, you can learn about “Nature: Dragonflies and Damselflies--Winged Wonders Around Us” during a presentation at the Alabama Wildlife Center (www.awrc. org/). Refreshments at 1:30 p.m. will be followed by a 2 p.m. program by Steve Krotzer. If the weather cooperates, you may look for live specimens in the park or examine nymphs captured in local streams. The event is free with paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. Details: 663-7930, ext. 4. ❊ Through March during caverns tours, www.desotocavernspark. com DeSoto Caverns Family Fun

Park ( in Childersburg will showcase an Easter light show commemorating the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ❊ Check out the Birmingham Zoo (, where a new exhibit, “Trails of Africa,” distinguishes the zoo as a national leader in the care and conservation of threatened elephants. From ground and aerial views, you can learn about the plight of endan-

and dress like a cowhand. Nearby are the admission-free First White House of the Confederacy and the Capitol building. ❊ It is sobering and enlightening to roam in the two cemeteries at Confederate Memorial Park (, in Chilton County south of Birmingham, where a trio of flags–U.S., Alabama and Confederate--flies above markers. North of Birmingham, Mentone offers shops, restaurants, views and a relaxed pace ideal for a spring getaway. Photo courtesy John Dersham/DeKalb Tourism

gered animals. Save time to explore the entire zoo which for decades has been a beloved Birmingham attraction. ❊ Drive north to Chattanooga where The Chattanoogan hotel, ( is offering free tickets (two adults, two children) to area attractions--the Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX or Chattanooga Zoo and Creative Discovery Museum or Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway-with a minimum two-night stay. Available through April 14, rates start at $169 per night for two adults and two children. Reservations: 877-756-1684. Free with aquarium admission are some 20 activities that let children get close to animals and learn to care for them. Options include releasing butterflies, feeding partridges and Palawan peacock pheasant, going behind the scenes with scuba divers, feeding otters and trout and feeding animals in the Secret Reef. Plan to stay a while and enjoy yourself, because The Chattanoogan has three restaurants, a spa with four treatment rooms, steam room, sauna, fitness center, indoor pool and whirlpool. ❊ You can jump away your spring break at AirWalk (, the state’s first extreme trampoline arena that opened earlier this year. Off U.S. 280 near Greystone, the entertainment-fitness-sports facility has trampolines, a trampoline dodgeball stadium and an Olympic-size foam pit filled with more than 25,000 foam cubes. (No, I didn’t actually count them.) Weekends can get crowded, so you may want to call ahead for tickets. Cost is $12/one hour and $20/ two hours with several discounts available. So, go jump! ❊ Some 90 miles south of Birmingham in Montgomery is the admission-free Alabama Cattlemen’s Association MOOseum (, a place where young visitors can learn about cows, see a rodeo clown barrel

Five years after the final veteran died there in 1934, the Old Soldiers Home for Confederate Veterans was closed. A museum, which charges a small admission fee, holds an extensive collection of artifacts from the soldiers’ home and uniforms, weapons, and equipment used during the Civil War. The park is in Chilton County, nine miles south of Exit 205. (Follow signs from I-65.) ❊ In the state’s northeast corner, Mentone ( is a quiet hamlet with locally-owned specialty shops including the Gourdie Shop with handpainted, signed and dated original gourds. Designed and created by local artist Sharon Barron, the “gourdies” are registered with the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office. Downtown’s Inca Connection holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of Inca art outside of Peru and Ecuador. While in the area, explore the underground world at Sequoyah Caverns or traipse hiking and biking trails, kayak a raging river and fish from streams and lakes at Little River Falls, DeSoto State Park, High Falls Park, Buck’s Pocket State Park or Little River Canyon National Preserve. For overnighting, you’ll find several charming possibilities, including Mountain Laurel Inn Bed and Breakfast (a March Madness package, $258, includes two nights, morning coffee delivered to your room, full breakfast, a keepsake ornament, bottled water and snacks for two people), the Mentone Springs Hotel that is listed in the New York Times bestselling book “100 Places to See Before You Die,” the Mentone Mountain View Inn (with awesome views) and Mentone Inn, which through March offers two nights for two people with breakfast for $198. Don’t let the final days of spring break slip away without a bit of fanfare. Make plans, gas up, pack your camera and head out. The best may be yet to come. ❖

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 9

About Town


Get Growing with The Gardens’ Spring Plant Sale

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Spring Plant Sale April 5-7 Former J.C. Penney store, Century Plaza The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ 2013 Spring Plant Sale will be open to the public April 5-7 in the former J.C. Penney location at Century Plaza, 7580 Crestwood Blvd. The event will begin on April 4 with Brio Tuscan Grille’s Preview Party from 5-6:30 p.m. followed by a Members Only Sale from 6:30-8:30 p.m. On April 5, the sale is open to the public with free admission from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. April 6 sale hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The sale will close on Sunday; hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The sale will feature more than 100,000 plants. For more information, visit springplantsale. 

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The Friends of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens are getting ready for the annual Spring Plant Sale on April 5-7. From left: Karen Mitchell, Don Ehrett, Betsy Fleenor, Bob Eskew and Ralph Johnston. Photo special to The Journal

Save the Date Hoover

Death and the Civil War April 4, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Hoover Public Library The Hoover Public Library will show the PBS documentary “Death and the Civil War” by filmmaker Ric Burns April 4 in the Library Theatre at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For information, call 444-7840. Birmingham

Little Women April 4-7 Red Mountain Theatre Company Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Youth Series brings the American classic “Little Women” to life April 4-7 at the RMTC Cabaret Theatre, 301 19th St. North in Birmingham. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $20; student rates are available. For tickets, call 324-2424 or visit www.

Entrance fee includes a T-shirt for the runner, pre-race pasta dinner on April 5 catered by California Pizza Kitchen and a post-race pancake breakfast during the awards ceremony for the runners and their families. Cash prizes for the top three male and female runners will be given. Register at Space is limited. Birmingham

Paul Meyers Memorial Golf Tournament April 6, 4:30-9:30 p.m. Highland Park Golf Course

The Paul Meyers Memorial Golf Tournament will be April 6 at Highland Park Golf Course. Registration begins at 3 p.m. The first nine holes will be played starting at 4:30 p.m. There will be a barbecue dinner, auctions and live music. A “glow in the dark” nine holes will be played at 7:30 p.m. Single players can register for $150. A group of four players can register for $600. Non-golfers can buy tickets for $40 each. To register or for more information, visit www. paulmeyersmemorialgolftournament. com. ❖


“Ramona Quimby” Auditions April 6, 2 p.m. Children’s Dance Foundation The Children’s Dance Foundation’s StageDoor Youth Theatre will hold auditions for “Ramona Quimby,” a play adapted by Len Jenkin based on the novels by Beverly Cleary. StageDoor is seeking actors ages 8-18. Those wishing to audition should arrive at 1:30 p.m. to sign up and be prepared to present a brief monologue (one minute or less) and bring a resume and headshot or school photo. Performances will be June 20-23 at the Children’s Dance Foundation Studio Theatre. Julie Meadows will direct the production. For more information, call 870-0073 or visit



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High Country 5K April 6, 8 a.m. Shades Crest Baptist Church Shades Crest Baptist Church will hold its 12th annual High Country 5K on April 6 at 8 a.m. There will be a free kids’ fun run at 9 a.m. The second annual Elementary School Team Challenge for Hoover elementary schools will also be part of the event. Pre-registration is $20 before March 23, $25 between March 23 and April 5 and $30 on race day.

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10 • Thursday, March 21, 2013



From Page 1

ing the first pontiff to step down in six centuries. As Catholics across the world and in the Over the Mountain area learned that Jorge Bergoglia had been chosen as the next leader of the Church, the Over the Mountain Journal spoke to a local Church official about the issues facing Pope Francis. In January, the Rev. Father John G. McDonald, a native of Citronelle, was appointed the new director of Catholic education and lifelong formation at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. He is also the president of John Carroll Catholic High School and associate pastor at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church. OTMJ: Before we talk about the election of the new pope, let’s talk about your background. Did you always want to be a priest? McDonald: I was actually a banker before I heard the call. I earned a history degree at Loyola University and was working in the family business at a bank. I had a house, a car, I was successful at my job as a third-generation banker, but the big question was, “What’s next?” And when I really thought about that question, it was at that moment, that moment of stillness, that I was called to serve. OTMJ: Going from being a banker to being a priest is quite a leap in vocations. How do you explain that to people? McDonald: The Church understands the call as God’s voice beckoning you to do what is His will for you, and in His will is our happiness. Before I was called to the priesthood, I had, by all accounts, what most people would consider a very happy life, but I knew God had other plans for me. OTMJ: What questions or concerns are you hearing about the most since Benedict abdicated? McDonald: I don’t think people understand why he resigned. They ask if we feel like orphans because the Holy Father abdicated. My feeling is what Benedict has done has given us an example of the life of prayer in which we all must walk. It is really easy to stay somewhere long after you know you should have gone. Benedict was self-aware enough in his relationship with God to know that God had another job for him. People think he’s gone off on some kind of grand vacation or has turned away from us, but really, he is just continuing his work in a


From Page 1

encompassed. The book includes the thoughts of everyone from archaeologists and scientists to writers and rock stars. For example, in chapter seven, an excerpt from an interview with Bono, the singer from the rock band U2, on why he is a Christian can be found on the same page as C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on accepting Jesus as the Son of God. “Faith has got to have a strong foundation, otherwise it is blind faith,” he said. “And over and over again, my research kept showing me that the Bible is a divine book and it is accurate.” Simmons said one of his favorite parts of his new book is the chapter that deals with the relationship between science and the Bible. “There’s a myth that science and religion are at war, but in reality, the trend we’re seeing now is that science is actually pointing toward the existence of God, especially in the field of cosmology,” he said. “So many peo-


different way. OTMJ: What was your reaction to learning who will be the new pontiff? McDonald: I am truly excited. It is absolutely astonishing that for the first time we have a Jesuit and a Latin American who has taken the name of Francis. St. Francis of Assisi is a great saint known for his love of the poor and his dedication to “preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” When I saw Pope Francis bow down and ask a blessing from those gathered at St. Peter’s Square, I was deeply touched. The Rev. Father John G. McDonald in January was appointed the Pope Francis has initiated new director of Catholic education and lifelong formation at the a dialogue in which he has Roman Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. He is also the president called on all of us to work of John Carroll Catholic High School and associate pastor at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel together with him. need is that there be a pope, period. We need OTMJ: What does it the pope as a symbol of unity for all Catholics. mean that the new pope is a Jesuit? When Pope John Paul II died, I heard the best McDonald: The Jesuit order, founded by St. explanation on the role of the pope--that the Ignatius Loyola, is formally known as the pope is the temporary custodian of the transcenSociety of Jesus. Its members are known for dent reality of the Church. Popes come and go, scholarship, outreach to the poor and deep intebut the Gospel remains our transcendent reality. rior prayer. The Jesuit Order has been seen over the centuries in a different light, but every Jesuit OTMJ: What human qualities do Catholics want to see Pope Francis bring to the job? takes a vow of obedience to the pope. McDonald: In a world that is rapidly changOTMJ: What is the significance of Pope ing, there is a need for a person who can read Francis being from Latin America? and understand the signs of the times and then McDonald: Forty-two percent of the world’s respond to them with the eternal teachings of Catholics live in Latin America. It is surely the Gospel. And that needs to be done in a way significant that Pope Francis shares in the expethat’s accessible to post-modern humanity. The riences of the Latin American Church with its Gospel doesn’t change, but our job as members deep life of devotion and also the experience of the Church, as Christians, is to make the of poverty in many places. Pope Francis’ work Gospel present where we are. as Archbishop of Buenos Aires has shown his OTMJ: What do you mean by accessible to personal humility and his solidarity with the poor. He refused to be driven in the archbishop’s post-modern humanity? Would it be someone like Pope John Paul II who was highly visible limousine, preferring to use mass transit or his and greeted crowds from the Popemobile? bicycle. He lived in a small apartment and did McDonald: I mean accessible in a way that we his own cooking. are doing just as Jesus did and taking the Gospel OTMJ: What does the Church need most from to where the people are; that we’re accessible by the new pope? bringing the light of Christ to where people are McDonald: I’ve heard people say the Church is in darkness. looking for Jesus Christ with an MBA, but it’s OTMJ: And where are people most in darkness important to realize that the pope is not Christ. in our modern world? We look to Jesus first. The Church’s biggest

ple, unless their lives intersect directly through their work with science, they don’t know what’s going on with science and how it, too, is validating that the Bible is accurate.” And if we accept that the Bible is historically accurate, Simmons said, we must therefore accept that Jesus is who he said he is and that he died on the cross and rose on the third day. “The Christian faith depends on the Resurrection. Without it we have nothing,” Simmons wrote in the book. “Christianity stands or falls with Christ’s Resurrection. Disprove it and you’ve disposed of Christianity.” In the book, Simmons gives account after account of people who have set out to disprove the Resurrection only to find it to be undeniable. We know more about Jesus’ burial, Simmons said, than that of any other person in all of ancient history. Simmons said we know who took him down from the cross and took him to his tomb. We know where the tomb was, who owned it and that it was empty on Easter morning.

“It’s a silent, immutable rock of evidence as we go through our analysis. From Easter Sunday on, there was this empty tomb,” Simmons writes. And that empty tomb, Simmons said, symbolizes what the Resurrection means for Christians. “Mankind’s greatest fear is death, and the Resurrection offers us hope against death,” he said. “We cannot live without hope, and that is the whole message of Easter, of the Resurrection.” The power of hope is something Simmons said he has seen firsthand through his work as the founder and executive director of the Center for Executive Leadership, a Homewoodbased nonprofit ministry that focuses on evangelism and discipleship of men. Simmons works with businessmen to help them develop their faith through formal Bible studies, teaching and counseling. He also oversees a group of professional and personal counselors at the center. “I’ve seen so many people who don’t have hope and who are lost in despair and moral confusion

McDonald: People are in darkness when they’re dealing with failed marriages, when they are struggling with material desire and self-image. Especially here in the West, we can never be thin enough, we can never be rich enough. That’s something the light of the Gospel can help us overcome. OTMJ: Some would argue that another area of darkness the new pope needs to address is the image of secrets that surrounds the Church in popular culture. What are your thoughts on that? McDonald: Transparency is an important thing people want with the next pope. The American cardinals, in particular, have their finger on the pulse of the Church when it comes to transparency. I think one of the things on the forefront for the new pope will be to get rid of this “fortress” mentality that can sometimes exist in the Church. It doesn’t mean we throw away all of the old traditions, it just means we become more transparent, more accessible. OTMJ: There’s that word--accessible--again. Why is it so important that Catholics feel like the pope and his message are accessible to them? McDonald: In Italian, the word for pope is “papa,” and I think that’s what we need. The Church needs a good Holy Father and a good daddy. We know what it means to have a Holy Father, but we also want a daddy. A daddy is someone you have a relationship with, and I think people are looking for that. In the old generation it was more about “Pray, Pay and Obey,” but now people want a more individual relationship with the Church. OTMJ: Do you think American Catholics want something different out of the new pope than other Catholics around the world? McDonald: I think a lot of people want a younger pope than we’ve had in the past. I also think that many people think it is important that the next pope reform the Vatican and make sure the governmental components are functioning properly. OTMJ: Do you think most Catholics are worried about the transition of bringing in a new pope or are they excited? McDonald: I think it concerns some, but I think it’s an exciting time, too. It makes me think of what St. Augustine said about the Church being ever ancient and ever new. I think it is a time of great hope, and that hope is central to what Jesus continues to bring to our lives and in the whole Easter season we’re in now. ❖

because they don’t have an anchor or a moral compass to guide them. God’s word gives us that anchor. The hope and certainty we get from the Resurrection lifts us out of that despair and confusion,” he said. Simmons said his research on the validity of the Bible has helped him in his work at the center. “Sometimes it is very difficult for some of the men to accept this message of hope, so giving them this evidence so they can believe intellectually is very important,” he said. But most of the time, Simmons said, it is usually not the historical or scientific evidence on the validity of the Bible that brings the men he works with around to a life of faith. “One thing I’ve come to realize is that you can have a mountain of all kinds of evidence to convince the intellect, but ultimately, it comes down to a surrender of the heart,” he said. While conducting his research into the validity of the Bible, Simmons said, he didn’t set out to write “Reliable Truth” but rather to answer

his own questions. “Then I couldn’t help but share the things I was learning, and that led to me giving a series of talks on the validity of the Bible at Saint Peter’s (Anglican) Church,” he said. Several people suggested Simmons compile the research he talked about in the presentations at the church into a book. “What I found when I was doing my own research is that a lot of these books are written from a very scholarly perspective, and they can be rather dry and difficult to read,” he said. “So, I wanted to write something that was well-researched but at the same time easy to read.” First released in December, “Reliable Truth” is in its second printing and is being sold at, 256 Books-A-Million locations and several local retailers. For more information, visit For more information on the Center for Executive Leadership, visit www.thecenterbham. org. ❖

Easter Happenings

a.m. For more information, visit www. or call 833-9631. briarwood presbyterian church

Celebrate Easter with some of these events in the Over the Mountain area. For more Easter activities and information please go to

Aaron Keys Easter Concert March 31, 6 p.m.

Christian recording artist Aaron Keyes will celebrate Easter at the church by singing at both the 8 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. services followed by a concert at 6 p.m. This is a free event. For more information, visit or call 776-5200.

Birmingham Zoo

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny March 30, 8-9 a.m. and 9:15-10:15 a.m.

Join the Easter Bunny for a delicious breakfast at the Kudzoo Café. All attending children will receive a special Easter treat. Reservations are required. For more information, call 879-0409.

valleydale church

Easter Egg Hunt March 30, 10 a.m.-noon

Oak Mountain State Park

Sixth Annual Easter Egg Hunt March 30, 11 a.m. (ages 5 and under) 1 p.m. (ages 6 and up)

There will be 10,000 eggs to be found at this event. Other activities include sack races, a cake hop, face paintings, and hayrides. The egg hunt for ages 5 and under starts at 11 a.m.; for ages 6 and up, the hunt starts at 1 p.m. Activities cost $1 each, or tickets can be purchased under the Dogwood Pavilion. Park admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children and senior citizens. For more information, call 620-2520. Vestavia Hills Baptist Church

Holy Week Luncheon Series March 25-29, noon

A week of worship and fellowship centers on the messages of the fourth gospel, “Last Words from Jesus for Us.” Speakers include Rev. Keith Thompson, Dr. Sydney Park, Rev. Arthur Price and Dr. Gary Furr. Jazz guitarist and Birmingham native Eric Essix will perform during Monday’s service. Bill Bugg will sing during Tuesday’s service. Opera singer Angela Brown will perform during Thursday’s communion service. On Good Friday, following the normal church service, congregations across the city will join for a special Good Friday service, “The Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross,” at noon. For more information, call 979-5920. Vulcan Park

Easter Sunrise Service at the Vulcan March 31: 6:30, 8 and 10:30 a.m.

Covenant Presbyterian Church will hold a sunrise service at 6:30 a.m. at Vulcan Park as well as worship services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. For more information, call 8717002. Edgewood Presbyterian Church

Holy Week Services March 24, 28, 29 and 31

Hear the Liturgy of the Palms and the Passion on March 24 at 9:30 a.m. A Holy Thursday service will be held on March 28 at 6 p.m. On March 29, a Good Friday service will begin at noon. “The Way of the Cross” begins at 2 p.m. in Homewood Park, and the service will conclude at the church at 3 p.m. The Celebration of the Resurrection service will be March 31 at 9:30 a.m. For more information, call 8714302. Shades Valley Lutheran Church

Easter Service, Breakfast and Egg Hunt March 31, 8-10:30 a.m.

Shades Valley Lutheran Church will celebrate Easter Sunday with services at 8 and 10:30 a.m. A special breakfast will be at 9:15 a.m., and an egg hunt is at 10 a.m. For more information, call 871-3512. First Baptist Church of Birmingham

Easter Musical and Egg Hunt March 24, 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

First Baptist Church of Birmingham will have a Palm Sunday musical at 10:15

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 11



Dawson Memorial Baptist Church

Easter Egg Hunt and Service March 23: 11 a.m. March 28: 6:30 p.m.

Dawson Memorial Baptist Church

a.m. and a family Easter egg hunt at 11:30 a.m. The congregation will gather for a potluck lunch before the egg hunt. Each family is asked to bring one large side dish and to sign up for the potluck in advance. For more information, call 870-3888. Trinity United Methodist Church

Holy Week Services March 24-31

Trinity United Methodist Church’s Holy Week events include Palm Sunday services at 8:45 and 11 a.m. and Taize at 6 p.m. Noon services March 25-27 will feature guest speakers and lunch for $5 per person. A Maundy Thursday Service of Holy Communion will be at 7 p.m. on March 28. The church will continue its observation of Lent with a Service of Darkness, which will include scripture, prayer, liturgy and music led by Trinity’s Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra, at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, March 29. The week will conclude on March 31 with a 6:30 a.m. sunrise service at Homewood Park followed by breakfast, traditional worship at 8:30, 9:45 and 11 a.m. and Contact worship at 11:15 a.m. For more information, call 879-1737. Cross Creek Church

Easter Sunday Service March 31, 10 a.m.

Join Cross Creek Church for a special Easter Sunday worship service at 10 a.m. featuring the Children’s Hand Bell Choir. South Shades Crest Elementary is at 3770 South Shades Crest Road. For more information, call 453-9190. Shades Crest Baptist Church

Community Easter Egg Hunt March 24, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

An egg hunt for children in preschool to pre-kindergarten starts at 3:30 p.m. Train rides are at 4 p.m. An egg hunt for children in kindergarten to fourth grade starts at 4:30 p.m. For details, call 822-1360. Mountain Brook Baptist Church

Easter Egg Hunt March 30, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Mountain Brook Baptist Church will hold two different Easter egg hunts on March 30. The first event is for preschoolers and begins at 10 a.m. in the church’s lower parking lot. In case of rain, the hunt will be moved to the gym. For details, visit www. Brookwood Baptist Church

Preschool Easter Egg Hunt March 30, 9:30 a.m.

The preschool ministry at Brookwood Baptist Church will hold an Easter egg hunt on the front lawn of the church

will hold an Easter egg hunt on March 23 at 11 a.m. The event includes family fun with games, rides, inflatables and food. An Easter service will be held at the church on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 871-7324. on March 30 at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit Canterbury United Methodist Church

Annual Easter Egg Hunt March 30, 10 a.m.-noon

Canterbury United Methodist Church’s annual Easter egg hunt will be from 10 a.m.-noon on March 30 at Canterbury Hall. The event is open to children who are walking up to those in second grade. For more information, visit www. or call 871-4695. St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Children’s Easter Egg Hunt March 31, 10 a.m.-noon

The church’s children’s ministry Easter egg hunt will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The event will be held on the playground, in the parish hall and in the gym. For more information, visit or call 871-1153. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

Children’s Holy Week Service March 27, 5:30 p.m.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will hold a children’s Holy Week service on March 27 beginning with a light supper in Graham Hall at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a special service geared toward helping children more fully participate in the drama of Holy Week. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit www.saint-lukes. com. Mountaintop Community Church

Seder Feast March 27, 6:30 p.m.

Mountaintop Community Church will participate in a Seder Feast led by a Messianic Jewish rabbi at the church at 6:30 p.m. on March 27. The Passover Seder was the meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the night of his arrest. For more information, visit www. or call 776-8020. Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church

Holy Week Midday Services and Easter Egg Hunt March 25-27 and March 30

Vestavia Hills UMC will have midday Holy Week services March 25-27 from 11:30-noon each day. The Rev. Sherill Clontz will be the speaker on March 25, and the Rev. Byron Fair will speak on March 26. Bishop Bob Morgan will be the speaker on March 27. Lunch is available by reservation by calling Patty Brown at 769-0117 by March 21. The children’s Easter egg hunt will be March 30 at 10

The church will have an Easter egg hunt on March 30 from 10 a.m. until noon. The event will include photo opportunities, inflatables, crafts, popcorn and cotton candy. For more information, visit www. or call 991-5282. St. mark the evangelist catholic church

Easter Egg Hunt March 31, 11:30 a.m.

The church will hold an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, March 31, beginning at 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit or call 980-1810.

North Shelby Baptist Church

Easter Eggstravaganza March 30, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

An Easter celebration called “Easter Eggstravaganza” will be March 30 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the church. The event will include lunch, an egg hunt, games and more. The church is located at 4100 Belcher Drive. For more information call 995-9056 or visit www.northshelbybaptist. org. ❖

April in Talladega April 12-13 2013

Historic Tour of Homes

Friday & Saturday - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Tickets: $15 for Adults; $10 for Students and 12 and under

Call (256) 362-9075 for more information Plus Many More Free Events Including: Heritage Hall presents “The Emperor’s Cache” Historic Courthouse Square • Historic Hillcrest Stroll “April on the Square” Block Party Antique Show at Townsend’s Warehouse

12 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


Vestavia’s Model Citizens Residents Recognized for Community Contributions


eadership Vestavia Hills recognized individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to Vestavia Hills through volunteerism, fundraising and long service. The 24th annual Leadership Vestavia Hills Citizens of the Year banquet was held March 7 at the Vestavia Country Club. The event honored Sharon Lovell, Betty Bell and the All-Star Baseball League. Lovell, a Vestavia Hills resident for more than 40 years, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Lovell has a long history of volunteering her time and efforts to make the community a better

place to live and raise children. She served four terms on the Vestavia Hills City Schools board of education and was the board’s president for two years. She was also instrumental in establishing the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation. She is an active member of Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church, where for the last decade she has led the Christmas missions program. Lovell has also served as a confirmation mentor at the church for the past four years and taught Vacation Bible School for several years. The 2013 Distinguished Citizen Award went to Betty Bell. Bell is the founder and executive director


of the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs. The center works to maximize the potential of young children up to the age of 3 who are at risk of developmental delay. The Citizens of the Year award went to the All-Star Baseball League. Hugh Dye accepted the award on behalf of the group. The baseball program for children with special needs is based at Wald Park. Established in 2003, the program gives children the chance to learn about and play baseball and serves as a networking opportunity for par- Leadership Vestavia Hills recognized individuals and groups at the ents and families of children 24th annual Citizens of the Year banquet on March 7. From left: Hugh Dye, Betty Bell and Sharon Lovell. Photo special to The Journal by Owen Stayner with special needs. ❖

People Notes Dawson Memorial Has Two New Eagle Scouts Boy Scout Troop 83 at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church has two new Eagle Scouts. Christopher Brown Atchinson and Patrick Ayers Snell have been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Christopher Brown Atchinson Atchinson began his adventure in scouting in 2004 when he was a fourthgrader in Cub Scout Pack 397 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood. He completed Patrick Ayers Snell all rank requirements of Webelos and earned the Arrow of Light award. He crossed over to Troop 83 in the spring of 2006. Atchinson was inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 2008 and has experienced all four of the Boy Scout High Adventure sites. His Eagle project was the installation of two stone benches on a nature trail established for educating the public on wildlife issues. He has been an active musician at Homewood City Schools and with the youth choir at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church. He has gone on several mission trips and choir tours with the Dawson Youth Group. He has also participated in the robotics and math teams at Homewood Middle and Homewood High. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, a math honorary club, and was named a National Merit Semifinalist. Patrick Ayers Snell began his scouting experience at Southminster Day School where he joined Cub Scout Pack 235 as a Tiger Cub in the first grade. Snell achieved the Webelo II rank and won the Arrow of Light award. He crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 83 in

2006. In 2008, he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, an honorary brotherhood of campers. A highlight of his scouting years was a canoe trip to Northern Tier, a BSA High Adventure site. Snell’s Eagle project was major restoration to the Southside Baptist Church gym, now used as a food pantry for the homeless. He said he anticipates being the first scout in Troop 83 to be awarded the Bronze Palm Rank recognition and currently serves Troop 83 as a junior assistant scoutmaster. At Vestavia Hills High School, Snell is a member of the National Honor Society, German Honor Society and varsity basketball team. He has participated in Vestavia Youth Leadership, was a peer tutor and has been a recipient for the past two years of the Presidential Service Award. Snell is active in his church’s youth group and has participated in several mission trips.

Hoover’s Stallworth Named Eagle Scout Owen Hardin Stallworth III, a member of Troop 93 at Oakmont Presbyterian Church, was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in a Court of Honor ceremony on Feb. 3. For his Eagle Scout project, Stallworth designed and built five benches for the Inverness Disc Golf Course in Hoover. He earned 24 merit Owen Stallworth badges, the 50-miler Award, the Triple Crown Award and the U.S. Heritage Award. He has served as senior patrol leader and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow. Stallworth attended all three Boy Scout high adventure bases, canoeing more than 50 miles through the Canadian wilderness at Northern Tier, hiking more than 70 miles during an 11-day backpacking expedition at Philmont, N.M., and completing more than 15 deep sea dives in the Florida Keys.

The Hoover High School junior is the son of Owen H. Stallworth Jr. and Tammy S. Arnau. He is the grandson of Owen and Edith Stallworth Sr. and Porter G. Cowden Jr. and the late Lena B. Cowden.

Leibach Earns Eagle Rank John Cooper Leibach of Vestavia Hills earned the rank of Eagle Scout Oct. 11, 2012. He received his award along with Hunter Richmond Brantley on Jan. 13 in a Court of Honor ceremony. Leibach is a member of Boy Scout Troop 4 at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. For his Eagle project, he made three composite wood picnic tables and a wooden garbage can with a lid and John Cooper re-landscaped Leibach the outdoor youth area at St. Mark United Methodist Church. As part of the project, all existing shrubs and ground cover were removed, more than 120 new plants and trees were planted and sod was laid throughout the area. Leibach earned 21 merit badges and served as troop scribe, patrol leader and twice as troop guide. He attended two high adventure camps, Philmont in 2009 and 2012 and Sea Base in 2011. He is a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church and is a senior at Vestavia Hills High School. He is the son of Kim and Steve Shotts of Vestavia Hills and John Leibach of Augusta, Ga. He is the grandson of Linda and Jerry Kitchens of Vestavia Hills and Elizabeth and Fred Leibach of Augusta, Ga.

Vestavia’s Hardy Earns Eagle Scout Rank A junior from Vestavia Hills High School has been awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Sam Hardy recently received the Eagle Scout rank as a member of Troop 21, chartered by Bluff Park United

Methodist Church. He is the 184th Eagle Scout in Troop 21’s 96-year history. Hardy is the troop’s junior assistant scoutmaster and has also Sam Hardy served as patrol leader and senior patrol leader. He has received the troop’s Attendance Award for five consecutive years. Hardy earned his Triple Crown by attending three high adventure bases at Philmont, Sea Base and Northern Tier. For his Eagle Scout project, Hardy built a bridge over the dry creek bed that runs through the new playground at Bluff Park United Methodist Church. Hardy is also the Chapter Chief of the Order of the Arrow’s Coosa Lodge Nunne-Hi Chapter, where he serves as the ceremony and drum team leader. He has worked as a counselor at Camp Sequoyah BSA for the last two summers.

for classes at the school and enhanced its appearance. With the help of other scouts, Michelson built a podium and two benches for an outdoor classroom and cleaned up logs and branches lying on and near the trail. He put landscaping timbers on the sides of the trail to prevent plants from growing onto it and repainted the entrance sign to the trail. At Mountain Brook High School, Michelson is a member Joel Phillips Michelson of Mu Alpha Theta and the Spanish Honor Society, plays trumpet in the marching and symphonic bands and is a member of the Chamber Choir. He is a National Merit Commended Scholar. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Michelson of Mountain Brook and the grandson of Dr. and Mrs. Leonard Michelson of Montgomery and the Hon. and Mrs. Ed Fowler of Hamilton.

Michelson Wins Eagle Palms Award from Scouts

Homewood Grad to Perform at National Music Conference March 21

A Mountain Brook High School senior is the first Eagle Scout in his troop to earn three Eagle Palms awards. In Troop 320’s 45-year history, Joel Phillips Michelson is the first of the Mountain Brook troop’s 242 Eagle Scouts to earn the Silver, Gold and Bronze Palms. The highest rank a young man can achieve in Boy Scouts is Eagle. After he receives the Eagle rank, a scout can earn the Eagle Palms awards. These are earned for each additional five merit badges over the 21 required for Eagle rank and for three months of additional involvement in the troop. He started in scouting in the first grade and advanced through Cub Scouts to earn its highest award, the Arrow of Light. After crossing over to Boy Scouts, Michelson became a member of the Order of the Arrow. His Eagle Scout project was to refurbish the Brookwood Forest Elementary School Nature Trail. This project trail made it a better environment

A 2010 Homewood High School graduate has been selected to perform at a national music conference. Trevor Litsey, a member of the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, will perform on March 21 at the 2013 National Conference of the College Band Directors National Association at the University of North CarolinaGreensboro. The Lawrence Wind Ensemble is one of only nine college Trevor Litsey ensembles performing at the conference. Litsey plays tuba in the ensemble. He is the son of Alan and Diane Litsey. ❖


About Town

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 13

14 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


riverchase revamp

Galleria’s $60 Million Renovation To Include New Department Store, More By William C. Singleton III Journal contributor


ince it opened February 1986, Hoover’s Riverchase Galleria has brought glitz, glitter and entertainment to the indoor shopping experience in Alabama. And developers and representatives of the state’s largest mall say the facility will continue to enhance the shopping experience after renovations are completed by mid-fall. “The Galleria has been a great project for a long period of time, and any project needs to be updated and we’ve made some excellent strides to get that project updated with the addition of a new department store, the renovation of the mall and the renovation of the hotel,” said Carl Bartlett, executive vice president for Jim Wilson & Associates LLC, developer of the Galleria and connecting Wynfrey Hotel. The 1.5 million square-foot Galleria is undergoing a nearly $60 million facelift and body tuck including upgrades to its indoor facilities, its parking deck and the addition of the Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur department store in Macys’ former spot. The Wynfrey Hotel is also involved in an approximate $20 million renovation to its 329rooms and conference space and will wave the flag of a new owner and bear the name the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel. Hoar Construction of Birmingham is the general contractor for the project, although Von Maur will oversee its own construction of its department store. Renovations for the Galleria target the parking deck, mall entrances, the food court area and restrooms. “The parking deck has been a major focus for this renovation,” said Christopher White, marketing director for the Galleria. “We are enclosing the pedestrian bridge ways from the parking deck into the center. They’re going to be enclosed in glass so you don’t have to worry about it getting wet and cold and windy whenever you walk into the mall. We’re also going to enclose all the stairwells in the parking deck.” The parking decks will receive a new paint job as well as waterproofing and will feature new elevators and new lighting. About 95 percent of the new lighting has already been installed, White said. The parking deck is receiving major emphasis because it’s the first area customers experience when they visit the mall, White said. “Since 1986, we haven’t paid much attention to the parking deck,” he said. “But from the feedback we’ve received from our customers and our guests, that’s the biggest request we’ve heard, ‘Can we update the parking deck?’ So we’re listening to our guests and the community.” The amusement park-like carousel which occupied the center of the mall’s food court is gone, much to the dismay of visiting children.  But it’s scheduled for improvements and will be back in place in May, White said. The mall’s sparkling glass ceiling will be adorned with even more attractive features with six globe lights suspended from the ceiling, White said. Other renovations will include aesthetic improvements to the corridor between J.C. Penney and the anticipated Von Maur store and

The carousel in the food court at the Riverchase Galleria isn’t on its usual platform in the food court but should be back in operation by May. The carousel is being updated as part of a large renovation project at the mall. Journal photos by William C. Singleton III

The Wynfrey Hotel is undergoing a renovation project to its 329 rooms and conference spaces that will reflect its new owners. The Over the Mountain landmark will be known as the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel starting in May.

new restrooms in J.C. Penney and the food court area, White said. The current glass-enclosed elevators near the food court will be relocated to allow for better visibility to the Von Maur store. The current elevators obscured the view to the first and second floor   entrances of the former Macy’s department store.  The current elevators will operate until the new ones are installed. The new elevators won’t be encased in glass, officials say. The mall is also adding new tenants, including Jared Jewelry, which occupies the former Just For Feet store outside on mall property, Destination Maternity, Pandora, Rainbow and Torrid. Earth Fare has already opened its natural foods grocery store on the former CompUSA property near the back of the mall. White said the tentative completion date for the renovation project, which started early last year, is late October or early November. The Wynfrey’s renovations include upgrades to its façade, meeting spaces, fitness center, outdoor swimming pool and refurbishing its 329 rooms. The renovation doesn’t include any new rooms or space, just making the existing better, said Andy Peters, general manager of the

Wynfrey Hotel. The hotel currently has about 33,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, Peters said. The biggest change – and possibly the most impactful - will be the Wynfrey’s connection to the Hyatt chain. Aligning with Hyatt will connect loyal guests with Hyatt’s rewards programs, Peters said. “It’ll also “bring a national sales effort which we don’t have right now as an independent hotel. We’ll be the only full-service Hyatt in Alabama,” Peters said. “For instance, if the national sales office gets a lead for a group having a convention or conference, currently they can’t even suggest Alabama because there’s no hotel in Alabama besides the smaller Hyatt places. I think (our aligning with Hyatt) will bring business to the state, to the Wynfrey and to Hoover that has never met here before.” The hotel will be rebranded as the Hyatt Regency at the end of May, Peters said. The full renovation of the hotel will be completed by the end of June, he said. The sign on the face of the hotel will be different than the huge Wynfrey Hotel letters seen from U.S. 31 and Alabama 150. “It will say Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel,” Peters said. “We feel it’s very important that the Wynfrey remain in our name. Interestingly enough, there’s another Hyatt Regency Birmingham. It’s in England.” Mayor Gary Ivey said based on building permits, the mall renovation project appears to be on schedule. To facilitate the redevelopment project, the Hoover City Council in Oct. 2011 agreed to rebate up to $25 million in sales tax revenue on the Galleria property. Ivey said Hoover has benefited from the Galleria’s presence and hopes to continue its relationship with the mega-mall both as an area employer and as a business which generates revenue for the city. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” the mayor said. ❖


u mountain brook

City Officials Meet With Governor on 280 Plans A group of city officials from Mountain Brook met with Gov. Robert Bentley last week to discuss their concerns over proposed changes to the U.S. 280 corridor that runs through the city. In a released statement, Mayor Terry Oden said he, Council President Virginia Smith and Councilman Billy Pritchard met with Bentley for 35 minutes in Bentley’s office on March 14. Bentley’s chief of staff, David Perry, and John Cooper, director of the Alabama Department ‘The govof Transportation, also ernor said attended the meeting. that ALDOT’s ALDOT is planning on plan was well changing 27 intersections thought-out along the nine-mile and thoroughportion of U.S. 280 ly analyzed, between Hollywood and and that even Doug Baker boulevards. though he was Those changes include going to go relocating or removing along with it, traffic signals at some he was open intersections and setting up indirect turns at others. to reconsidering those two At the indirect turns, drivers who want to travel intersections if they proved to left must first turn right be unworkable and make U-turns. after impleMountain Brook city officials and residents mentation.’ have voiced their objections to those changes and in January, the city council approved a resolution objecting to the revised plans by ALDOT. “We presented our case for modifications to the ALDOT 280 plan to provide signalization to allow left turns at the Hampton Inn and Cherokee Road intersections,” Oden said in his statement. While Oden said the governor was attentive to the points city officials made about their safety concerns over the plans for the traffic-plagued roadway, the meeting ended with Bentley saying he was going to stick to the plan presented by ALDOT. “The governor said that ALDOT’s plan was well thought-out and thoroughly analyzed, and that even though he was going to go along with it, he was open to reconsidering those two intersections if they proved to be unworkable after implementation,” Oden said in his statement.”

u Homewood

Council Seeks Opinion From Attorney General Homewood City Councilman Fred Hawkins has asked the Attorney General to decide whether his appointment as chief permit engineer for the City of Birmingham represents a conflict of interest. Hawkins, who represents Ward 2 and who serves as the council’s liaison to the Homewood Planning Commission, asked the council to pass a resolution seeking the opinion. It did so at its March 4 meeting. Hawkins said he doesn’t believe the appointment violates ethics law but wanted to make sure in case someone questioned the appointment. He said the position as chief of permit engineer for the city of Birmingham represented a great opportunity for he and his family. Hawkins isn’t the only council member to seek an Attorney General’s opinion for a possible

conflict. Former Councilman David Hooks in April 2012 asked the council to seek an Attorney General’s opinion when he was appointed as Jefferson County director of capital structure and investments. He was serving on the Homewood council and as top aide to County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens at the time of his appointment. Hooks, too, said he saw no violation. However, Hooks resigned as the county’s director of capital structure and investments  in July 2012 to take a job in the private sector. He did not run for re-election in August 2012. William C. Singleton III

u Vestavia hills

City Leaving E911 Business Vestavia Hills is getting out of the emergency 911 business. As of June 10, the city will no longer operate its own 911 system and will instead outsource that service to Shelby County. The City Council recently approved a contract with Shelby County for 911 services. The city will pay Shelby County $525,000 annually for the Butch Zaragoza service. It costs Vestavia Hills $1.1 million annually to run the service through its own police and fire departments.

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 15



About $630,000 of the $1.1 million comes from 911 fees provided by residents who use the system, the other portion from the city’s general fund, said Mayor Alberto “Butch� Zaragoza. “It was a cost-saving measure not only from the overall operational aspects of it, but we were fixing to have to do some radio equipment upgrade in our dispatch center that would probably be anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million. So it saved us from having to do that,� Zaragoza said. However, the mayor said residents won’t notice any difference in the service. In June, when Vestavia residents dial 911, they’ll still hear a dispatcher on the other end of the line. But instead of those dispatchers working for Vestavia Hills, the dispatchers will be employed by Shelby County. Zaragoza said the city’s decision will impact 13 employees, who will lose their jobs. Shelby County is expected to hire seven, and the city has tried to find the others employment with other municipalities, the mayor said. “We wanted to make sure our employees were taken care of,� Zaragoza said. Vestavia had tried to go in with neighboring cities to form a regional emergency 911 system, but that idea never panned out, the mayor said. “We have been looking at a centralized 911 system for a long time here in Jefferson County,� he said. “We just couldn’t ever get it kicked off the ground, so we decided maybe we need to look at Shelby County.� William C. Singleton III

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u mountain brook

City Looks to Add Sidewalks

The Mountain Brook City Council recently approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for preliminary engineering for sidewalks. The city seeks to build sidewalks along Brookwood, Crosshill, Woodvale and Oakdale roads. The proposed sidewalks would connect with sidewalks in front of Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church along Brookwood Sam Gaston Road and create a concrete path to Mountain Brook High School, said City Manager Sam Gaston. “It will provide a link and a walkway all the way to our high school,� he said. City officials estimate the overall project to cost about $1.5 million with Mountain Brook paying about 20 percent, or $300,000. “We’ll be looking at hiring a design team to start doing preliminary engineering for that project,� Gaston said.  “Those sidewalks will be several years down the road, but this is the first

step.� After the preliminary design and engineering, city officials will have a better knowledge of how much sidewalk will be built, Gaston added. In other city business, the Mountain Brook City Council recently renewed a three-year contract with Waste Management to provide garbage, trash and recycling services. Waste Management, which has served the city since 1995, will provide garbage and recycling services  for $2.7 million annually. The city has nearly 7,000 residences and 300 businesses who need garbage, trash and recycling services. William C. Singleton III

u hoover

Toomer’s Oak Planted in Aldrige Gardens To mark Arbor Day and Hoover’s 14th consecutive year to be designated a Tree City USA, a ceremonial tree planting was held on March 2. A Toomer’s oak seedling from Auburn was planted at Aldridge Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road. The seedling was donated to the gardens by Eddie and Kay Aldridge, who recently purchased two of the few remaining Toomer’s oak offspring from Auburn University. The oaks in Auburn will have to be removed due to the effects of herbicide

poisoning. Hoover’s Arbor Day celebration also included the recognition of Arbor Day essay contest winners and free trees for Hoover residents.

u hoover

Myeloma Support Group Formed

Earlier this month, Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey proclaimed March 2013 Myeloma Awareness Month. Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is an incurable cancer of the plasma cells that can lead to infections and other serious health problems, including cardiac arrest. Eric G. Huckabee, a Hoover resident who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August 2008, accepted the mayor’s proclamation on behalf of the Central Alabama Multiple Myeloma Support Group. “During my chemotherapy sessions and stem cell transplants, it would have been very encouraging to share my experiences with other multiple myeloma patients. That is why I formed the support group,� he said. The Central Alabama Multiple Myeloma Support Group meets from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month at Green Valley Baptist Church in room 8203. For more information, contact Huckabee at 370-4696 or �

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16 • Thursday, March 21, 2013




From left: Tammy Savage, Trinita Ashford, Kim Murphy, Patti David and Kim Hull.

Photos special to The Journal

Heart Ball Attracts Record Crowd


he 26th annual Birmingham Heart Ball was held March 2 at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center. About 900 attended the annual event, making it the largest black-tie gala in the state and one of the 10 largest Heart Ball galas in the country. The event raises money to support the life-saving research and educational programs funded by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. This year’s Heart Ball honored Terry Kellogg, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Alabama Power’s Zeke Smith and Burr & Forman’s Lee Thuston served as co-chairmen of the 2013 Executive Leadership Team. This year’s Birmingham Heart Guild president is Kim Hull. Tammy Savage is the guild’s chairman. The ball’s signature sponsor was Wells Fargo. ABC 33/40 and the Over The Emcee Gene Hallman Mountain Journal were the event’s media sponsors. Gene Hallman was the event’s emcee for the 15th consecutive year. For information on supporting the Birmingham Heart Ball, visit ❖

Zeke Smith, Kim Hull, Terry Kellogg, Tammy Savage and Lee Thuston. The event raises money to support the life-saving research and educational programs funded by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Join us for a

reception Friday April 5, 5 - 7 p.m.

Food and drink will be provided.

205-822-9922 1069 Montgomery Hwy. Vestavia Hills, AL 35216  Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sun. 12 p.m. -5 p.m. 



KD Alums Honor Daughters

From left: Anna Carson, Frances Carson, Francie Kenan, Anne Chapman Haynes and Melissa Kenan. Photos special to The Journal


he Mountain Brook Kappa Delta Alumnae Association hosted a Christmas party honoring their daughters and collegiate members. The party was at the home of Elizabeth Outland. Members donated money to the Kappa Delta Foundation’s program for children in need. Those who attended enjoyed wild rice and sausage casserole, ham and cheese biscuits and an assortment of desserts. Those at the party included Catherine Allen, Lori Barber and daughters Caroline and Emily, Susan Barrett, Jane Brakefield, Elizabeth Briggs and daughter Caroline, Leigh Bromberg and daughter Leacy and Anna Carson and daughter Frances. Also attending were Kaci

Chesebro and daughter Mary Kathryn, Brooke Coleman and daughter Elizabeth, Anna Cooper, Allison Creighton, Francie Deaton and daughter Newman, Caroline Donald, Margaret Donnell, Susan Ellard and daughter Mary Catherine, Marlea Foster and daughter Elisabeth, Irene Gardner, Julia Garrison, Betsy Harmon and daughter Eliza and Augusta Hassinger. Others at the gathering were Lucie Haynes and daughter Ann Chapman, Suzanne Hughes, Kathryn Keith, Melissa Kenan and daughter Francie, Carol Kirkland and daughter Kate, Amy Knight and daughter Lee, Ashley Lewis, Elizabeth McCoin, Nancy McCollum, Leslie Mcleod, Beth McMillan and

Caroline and Lori Barber.

daughter El, Wendy Morris, Ann Neighbors, Libby O’Donnell, Kathy O’Rear, Elizabeth Outland and daughter Anne Kendall, Murray Priester and daughters Lynn and Margaret and Teresa Pullium and daughter Alice Jordan. Also at the event were Lori Reich and daughter Helen Catherine, Patty Ringland, Laura Susan Roberts, Cynthia Shearer, Teresa Shufflebarger and daughter Chamblee, Laura Sink and daughter Emily, Annie Snuggs, Nancy Stetler, Landon Stivender and daughter Walton, Leigh Sullivan, Adelaide Vandevelde and daughter Delia, Susan Waggoner and daughter Mimi, Harriet Westbrook, Libba Williams and daughter Elizabeth Ann, Laura Wood and Susan Yarbro and daughter Sarah. ❖

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 17

18 • Thursday, March 21, 2013



Winter Art Clearance! Everything on Sale 20% to 50% Off Extended Thru - Mar 30!

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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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‘Night at the Oscars’ Raises Money for Mitchell’s Place

itchell’s Place’s seventh annual “A Night at the Oscars” was held at a private club on Feb. 24. The event was presented by Northwestern Mutual of Alabama. More than 400 guests enjoyed a live broadcast of the Oscars while being entertained by emcee Allen Meisler during commercial breaks. The event raised more than $260,000 for Mitchell’s Place, a nonprofit that provides caring, supportive, family oriented services that are comprehensive and tailored to meet the individual and unique needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Those attending included Sandy Naramore, Nancy Meisler, Jamie and Cilie Cowin, Adam and Heather Rhoades, Michael Hanson, Milcah Kirubel, Rhea Nathan, Jessica Browne, Carrie Montgomery, Trey and Leah Lewis and Debbie and Glenn Geldzahler. Others spotted on the red carpet at the event were Robert and Kelly Aland, Paul and Jacqueline Demarco, Bart and Sherry Starr, Jenny Wilson and Kevin Serra, Stephanie and Marlon Stoll and Roy Berger. Other guests were George and Dena Christian, Mitchell Meisler, Anna Meisler, Connie Stein, Mickey Fiegelson, Jenny Wilson, Lauren Deierhoi, Kelly Hochstetter, Dee Wilder, Lindsey Morrissette, Jessica Browne, Laura Mclain and Catie Etka. ❖

Trey and Leah Lewis.


To: From:

Robert 988-3131 Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 March 2013

From left: Allen Meisler, Mitchell Meisler, Nancy Meisler and Anna Meisler.

Adam and Heather Rhoades.

Bart and Sherry Starr. Michael Hanson, Milcah Kirubel, Rhea Nathan, Jessica Browne and Carrie Montgomery. Photos special to The Journal

more photos at


Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 19



Mardi Gras Party Brings More Smiles for Campers

From left: Zach and Katherine Turnage, Rachel and Todd Jordan, Nancy and Chris Hartin.


ore than 900 attended the Mardi Gras-themed Red Nose Ball, presented by Energen, at the Cahaba Grand on Feb. 23. The Red Nose Ball, hosted by the board of directors of Camp Smile-A-Mile, Alabama’s Program for Children with Cancer, included silent and live auctions, a seated dinner and music from Bonus Round. Mike Royer of Alabama’s 13 kicked off the evening as the master of ceremonies. Auctioneer Ken Jackson auctioned off items such as trips abroad, sports memorabilia and more photos at art. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stole the show and was auctioned to a wonderful home. All funds raised support Camp SAM’s year-round programs for children in Alabama who have cancer or who


Meredith and Justin McLaughlin.

have overcome the disease. Those attending the event included Susan Delenne, Stephanie Cannon, Sharon and Ronnie Jackson, Stephanie Hill Alexander, Emily and Sam Heide, Sumner and Brooke Schaeffer Kaplan and Sully. John Rives, Judy and Hank Belcher, Jordan and Justin Truelove, Terry Chapman, Holly Doyal, Beth and Jack Schaeffer, Alison and Noah Oliphant, Rosemary and Tony Nichols and Meredith and Justin McLaughlin. Also enjoying the Mardi Gras fun were Sharon and Clayton Sherrod, Betsy McAtee, Greg Martinez, Bonnie and Rob Barnett, Heather Watts, Aaron Watts, Cliff Brasher, Jerry Cox, Katherine and Zach Turnage and Rachel and Todd Jordan. Other guests at the event included Nancy and Chris Hartin, Mark Schaeffer, David Schaeffer, Brooke Schaeffer Kaplan and Justin Kaplan, Beth and Bruce Hooper, Amy and Mike Royer, Johnnie and Paul Caddell, Linda and Brian Whittier, Beverly and John McNeil, Susan and David Brouillette, Fiona and Raymond Watts, Soozan and Denny Hughes, D’Ann and Bill Somerall, Miriam and Clay Morris and Michelle and David Surber. �

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8JUIDPOUFNQPSBSZNVTJDCZUIF$0/5"$5#BOE bottom row black background? Either that or I’m working on getting a copy of my logo with black font on white background. 3. blue circle should read “color sealer is guaranteed against stains!â€? 4. Get rid of the whole 5 step process and replace with “transform the look of your tile!â€? (running center under ďŹ rst picture) and “ â€? (running center 2[PRRU5RDG+RPHZRRG$/‡ under second picture) ZZZWULQLW\ELUPLQJKDPFRP 5. Under the pictures put 4 bullets reading: - No Mess - Easy to Care or

Celebrate with us.

20 • Thursday, March 21, 2013





Artists Raise Money for Cancer Research

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he ArtBLINK Gala 2013, an annual event benefiting the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, will help support the center’s research projects and patient assistance programs. This year’s event was held Feb. 13 at The Kirklin Clinic. Hosted by the cancer center’s Advisory Board, ArtBLINK featured 16 local artists, who had just 90 minutes to create a masterpiece while attendees watched and eventually bid for the art in a silent auction. Many of the artists have a direct connection to cancer, either as a survivor or caregiver.

Participating ArtBLINK artists were Thomas Andrew, Ahmad Austin, Nada Boner, R. David Boyd Jr., Joan Curtis, Kate Merritt Davis, Vicki Denaburg, Randy Gachet, Lila Graves, Darius Hill, Carol Misner, Melanie Morris, David Nichols, Linda Ellen Price, Paul Ware and Jamie Wilson. Since 1984, the Cancer Center’s Advisory Board has raised more than $13 million to support the center’s research efforts, this year raising more than $1 million with ArtBLINK and other activities. Funds from ArtBLINK go toward supporting high-priority research efforts for a specific project, launching young investigators in a cancer

research career or recruitment of new faculty members. A percentage of the funds raised also benefits patient and family assistance efforts. “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of the community, especially in these tight economic times when we rely even more on their support,” said Dr. Edward Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Philanthropic support provides us with the critical seed money to investigate drugs and develop treatments that we can quickly and safely move to our patients.” The event featured a cocktail dinner provided by Kathy G & Company and dancing to the music of Big Daddy’s New Band. ❖

Countdown to Picasso Pets Begins

enjoyed a night of eating, drinking and brainstorming ideas about raising money for Hand in Paw. Planning committees also met to prepare for the August event. Honorary chairmen for this year’s Picasso Pets are Martha and Paul Bryant. Christie King will be the auctioneer. The event has moved to a new venue, Old Car Heaven in Birmingham, for 2013. Those attending the kickoff party included Lisa Spurling, Leah LaGrone, Liz Wilson, Paige Staylor, Tina Willard, Stephanie Hightower, Linda Ellen Price, John Saxon, Casey Smith, Jennifer Smith, Les Currie, Bob Stafford, Kim Dowdy and Robin Burgess. For more information on Picasso Pets, visit ❖





5514 Crestwood Blvd

Dr. Ray Watts, president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Dr. Ed Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Care Center. Photos special to The Journal

and in Paw kicked off its signature fundraiser, Picasso Pets, at a party at the home of Denise Hoyle, board member. Picasso Pets, set for Aug. 17, pairs pets with a local artist to create a masterpiece. The artist helps the animals use their feet, tails and sometimes even their noses to paint across a canvas. The canvas is then stretched, and the artist puts on the finishing touches. The one-of-a-kind pieces of art are auctioned off at the Picasso Pets event. Hand in Paw is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health and well-being of children and adults by serving those with physical, emotional, educational or psychological needs through interactions with professionally-trained animal-assisted therapy teams. At the kickoff party, guests

From left: Kim Dowdy, Robin Burgess and Denise Hoyle. Photo special to The Journal



Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 21

Lily of Cahaba DAR Marks Fifth Anniversary


embers of the Lily of the Cahaba chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution held a luncheon Feb. 9 at Vestavia Country Club to honor Alabama State Regent Constance H. Grund and celebrate the chapter’s fifth anniversary. The Lily of the Cahaba chapter held its organizing meeting on Feb. 2, 2008 with 50 members and chartered a year later with 96 members. The chapter now has nearly 120 members. Constance served as the Organizing Regent of the chapter and is the current Regent for the State of Alabama. Among the national and state officers attending the celebration were NSDAR Reporter General Jean Vaughn and NSDAR Vice President General Rita Horton. Others included National American History Chairman Janeal Shannon, National Junior American Citizens Vice-chairman Jan Courter, National Junior American Citizens Vice-chairman

From left: Pat Campbell, June Wilkingstad, Contance Grund, Marlene Lawley, Kaye Sutley, Ives Ort, Mimi Taylor, Shelby Bailey and Susan Moore. Photo special to The Journal

Southeastern Division Tad Douglas, National Lineage Research Vicechairman Southeastern Division Carolyn Drennen, President General’s Advisor for the Kate Duncan Smith School Patrice Donnelly, Alabama Organizing Secretary Nancy Billings and Alabama Librarian Susan Tomlinson. Lily of the Cahaba officers include Regent Marlene Lawley, Vice Regent Susan Moore, Second Vice Regent June Wilkingstad, Chaplain Ives Ort, Recording Secretary Kaye Sutley, Corresponding Secretary Mimi Taylor, Treasurer Pat

Campbell, Registrar Shelby Bailey, Historian Jean Butterworth and Librarian Sally Woolley. Known as the largest women’s patriotic organization in the world, DAR has more than 165,000 members with approximately 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. Any woman 18 or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership in the DAR. For more information about the DAR, visit For more information about the Lily of the Cahaba chapter, visit www. ❖

Chamber Exec Speaks to Garden Club S

From left: Annie Butrus, Suzan Doidge, Carol Pitard and Sally Garner. Photo special to The Journal

uzan Doidge, Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce executive director, was the guest speaker at the Brookwood Forest area of Mountain Brook OffShoots Garden Club’s February meeting. The meeting was held at the home of Annie Butrus. Suzan gave updates on the Mountain Brook Village To: Leigh renovation and showed a map of the future Cahaba From: Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., Park. 205-824-1246, fax She also stressed the importance of keeping tax Date: March 2013 dollars in Mountain Brook and expressing opinions about the proposed U.S. 280 changes affecting some This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Mountain Brook neighborhoods.  March 21, 2013 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. She delighted the crowd by testing their knowledge of the history of Mountain Brook and rewarding those with the winning answers with a door prize. Please make sure all information is correct, The president of Off-Shoots Garden Club is Sally including address and phone number! Garner. Carole Pitard is vice president. ❖

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.



824-0233 • 3351 Morgan Drive 402-2639 • Hwy 150 Hoover Mon-Sat 8-6 • Sun 12-5

Spring Flowers Arriving Daily


22 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


Working Late OTMers Enjoying Careers Too Much to Call it Quits Stories and photos by Keysha Drexel • Journal editor

Dr. Thomas Amason shares a laugh with his 4-yearold patient, Kerry Cottrell of Homewood. Amason has been a pediatrician to generations of children in the Over the Mountain area.

Fifteen years ago, at an age when most of her peers were retiring, Frances Gorrie of Crestline was embarking on a new career at Blackjack Gardens and Blackjack Farms near Trussville.

Stanley Virciglio could have retired years ago and hit the golf course but the 78-year-old said he would be bored if he didnʼt come to work at Piggly Wiggly every day.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Growing a New Career

Piggly Wiggly’s Patriarch

For Tommy Amason, Pediatrics Is Still the Right Prescription

Frances Gorrie Thrives with Blackjack Gardens and Farms

Stanley Virciglio Has Made Grocery Business His Life’s Work


hances are if you grew up in the Over the Mountain area, you or someone you know has been a patient of Dr. Thomas Amason. The pediatrician has been a fixture in the community since he started Mayfair Medical in Homewood 42 years ago, and well after most of his peers have retired, Amason shows no signs of wanting to hang up his stethoscope. “I’m seeing the grandchildren of children I took care of, and I feel so blessed to still be able to do what I love every day,” Amason said. “I have no plans of retiring anytime soon.” Amason said the key to his longevity in a field that is constantly changing has been his love of practicing medicine and helping children. “The love of what I’m doing keeps me here. That’s what I always tell younger people--find something that you love to do and make that your life’s work,” he said. Amason, who grew up in ‘I’m seeing the grandOzark, said he knew early on that he wanted to be a pediatri- children of children cian. I took care of, and I “My mother had a private feel so blessed to still kindergarten and so I was be able to do what I around children growing up and saw the good my mother love every day.’ did with her work. In high school, I volunteered at a camp for underprivileged children,” he said. Amason’s own physician also played an important role in shaping his career path, he said. “My GP was Dr. A.T. Matthews, and my mother always said the A.T. stood for ‘always there.’ That was back when See AMASON, page 23


t a time when most of her peers were retiring from the everyday grind, Frances Gorrie embarked on a second career. And the retail veteran who has owned and operated Blackjack Gardens and Blackjack Farms for the last 15 years said she has no plans to retire anytime soon. “I was retirement age when I started this, but I think if I had gone the traditional route and retired at that age, I would have been bored,” she said. “Here, there’s never a dull moment, and I love it. I’m never going to retire.” Gorrie lives in Crestline with her husband of 55 years, Miller. The couple’s three adult children--John Miller Gorrie, Ellen Walker and Jim Gorrie--all help out with the business in one way or another. The 800-acre farmland near Trussville has been in her husband’s family for generations. Fifteen years ago, Gorrie said, she decided to embark on the next chapter of her life, and she knew she wanted it to ‘I was retirement age involve the farmland. when I started this, “When we started, there was nothing here but a vacant but I think if I had lot and my vision,” she said. gone the traditional Now that vision has route and retired become a reality with at that age, I would Blackjack Gardens, a 10,000-square-foot showroom have been bored.’ chock-full of an eclectic collection of furnishings, accessories and lifestyle products. Gorrie said Blackjack Gardens is a natural progression from her career before retail. After attending Auburn University, Gorrie received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from American University in Washington, D.C. She taught art for several years and then See GORRIE, page 27


eople tell Stanley Virciglio all the time that he could be out playing golf instead of logging hours at the office, but the Vestavia Hills resident said even after more than 60 years in the grocery business, he’s not ready to retire. “If I played golf every day, I would get bored. I’d rather be working,” the president and co-owner of Piggly Wiggly said. Virciglio, who will celebrate his 79th birthday in July, said he’s worked long past retirement age because he truly loves what he does. “I love coming to work and seeing people, our customers, our employees. After all this time, they are like my family and friends, and family and friends are what make life worth living,” he said. As a teenager, Virciglio ‘I love coming to worked in the grocery stores work and seeing owned by his father and then people, our customtook the helm of the famers, our employees ... ily business when his father they are like my famretired in 1976. “It’s the only thing I’ve ily and friends, and ever done besides workfamily and friends ing a couple of summers at Ragland Brothers when I was are what make life a kid. This has been my life’s worth living.’ work,” he said. Virciglio opened the Homewood store in 1976, and the company has been in the Crestline neighborhood for 30 years. The family also runs a store in the River Run area of Mountain Brook. “We’ve always been proud to be a part of this community, and it has been good to us,” he said. See VIRCIGLIO, page 27



something I’ve always enjoyed and embraced,” he said. While he has seen the medical field undergo a lot of From Page 22 change during his career, Amason said some things about practicing medicine stay the same. the physicians would come out to your house. He made a “We may have a larger practice now, but I still get to big impression on me,” he said. know my patients. When you are someone’s pediatrician, Before attending medical school, Amason worked in the you become a part of their lives and they become a part of operating room at what was then Children’s Hospital. yours,” he said. “I worked there the first year it opened. In medical Amason now regularly sees the children and grandchilschool I did all the rotations, but I knew from the get-go dren of some of his very first patients. that pediatrics was what was on the horizon for me,” he “Knowing who the parents are and the grandparents are said. helps me tremendously. It helps me know how to approach Amason first practiced medicine in New York but the child’s care, and it helps me be a better physician moved back to the Birmingham area in 1971. because I know that history,” he said. Shortly thereafter, he founded Mayfair Medical with Amason said his wife of 44 years, Yates, often kids him doctors Harry Register, Frank Waldo and Harry Bagby. about the vast amount of details he can instantly recall from During his long career in medicine, Amason said he’s his patients’ lives, sometimes long after those patients are witnessed so many changes that it is difficult to say which grown and have had the most prohave children found effect on the field. of their own. “One of the most “My wife positive changes I’ve laughs that I seen is the change in can recall these the role of women in details, but the medical field. When I remember we started Mayfair things about the Medical, there was one families I have female pediatrician in been involved Birmingham, and she with, no matter was an allergist,” he how long ago it said. “Now our practice was,” he said. has six female physiAmason cians, so that’s been a said by conprogressive change.” stantly learning Another progressive and challenging change is the improvehimself, he feels ment in medicines and like he’s been treatments for children able to stay on over the years, Amason top of his game. said. He said living a For example, dochealthy lifestyle tors have learned not to has also been an over-prescribe antibiotimportant factor ics, he said, and have in his longevity. a whole new arsenal “I started of medications to help working out in children compared to the 1970s, and I those available when haven’t stopped. he first started in mediNow, I work out cine. with my 12-year“What we can do to old grandson, help children has cerand I want to tainly improved, and show him how I feel really blessed important it is to be a part of the to stay active, to medical field at a time keep the body when we are making these kind of strides in A young Dr. Amason visits with a patient. Amason has been a fixture in the moving and to community since he started Mayfair Medical in Homewood 42 years keep the mind care,” he said. ago. strong,” he said. Another major In addition to spending time with his two adult children change physicians have had to embrace is technology in the and three grandchildren, Amason said that if he ever cuts workplace, Amason said. down on his office hours at Mayfair Medical, he would “One of the biggest hurdles has been computers. likely spend more time involved with his other passionEveryone in the medical field was scared to death of what all this technology would do,” he said. “But I started in May -gardening. A board member at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens of 2012 transferring everything to electronic records and I for many years and a former board member of the American love it, to my great surprise and delight.” Horticulture Society, Amason said gardening is something While computerized records have not necessarily sped he has always loved and a hobby he can share with his wife. up the operations of his practice, Amason said he thinks “Our garden started out as my garden, but it has been incorporating new technology has made record-keeping our garden for the last 20 years. It’s something we really more accurate and easily accessible. enjoy doing together,” he said. Embracing the new is something Amason said he feels Amason said he would also like to develop his painting has been important in his long career as a pediatrician. skills. “That willingness to change what I used to do to what’s The pediatrician took lessons as a young man and paintthe current practice is so crucial. If I were to use the same treatments I used when I first started out, I’d be a relic and I ed regularly up until his second child was born. “It’s really something I’d like to get into again if I ever wouldn’t be giving my patients the best care,” he said. slow down. I still have an attic full of my old paintings, and Amason said patients today are much more educated some of them are hanging here in the patient rooms,” he about medicine than when he started in pediatrics. said. “I encourage that knowledge. I tell my patients to look Amason, whose own father worked until he was 88 on WebMD, to Google their medical questions,” he said. years old, said he can’t imagine not being involved in mediAmason said he also finds it important to carefully concine in some way. sider new advances in medicine and to stay abreast of the “After this job, I’ll probably find a job in medicine latest in the field. where they appreciate some gray hair and a little bit of “In any profession, you have to be vigilant. In the wisdom. I’ll still be involved in medicine in one way or medical field, you are constantly required to keep learnanother,” he said. ❖ ing through continuing education programs. That has been

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 23


In or out of the water, “freestyle” seems to suit Connie Wise. I love the pool at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health & Wellness Center. It’s free to all of us who live at Somerby. And I love the physical exhilaration of Conductorcise® — a fitness program built around classical music and part of Somerby’s Masterpiece Living® initiative. It makes you feel more alive, and being physically active is important to your health, as is being connected socially and intellectually. That’s why I feel comfortable here; it’s all available and you can see that everyone really cares about you. That’s just something nobody can replace.

A healthy lifestyle for mind, body and spirit — just one more part of the Somerby Spark!

200 One Nineteen Blvd. ~ Hoover, AL 35242

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Independent living apartment homes now available — call today to save thousands!

24 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


Kirkwood by the River One of Birmingham’s leading continuing care retirement communities, Kirkwood by the River, has significant renovations underway that are scheduled to be completed by March 2013. Built over 30 years ago, the community continues to make improvements that are attracting residents from throughout the country. “This phase of renovations includes exterior and interior enhancements throughout the community and impact all levels of care: independent living, assisted living, memory care assisted living, skilled nursing and Medicare rehab,” says Laura Ellison, marketing director. “Set on 120 acres of virgin forest, Kirkwood by the River feels miles away from the sprawl, and stress of the suburbs, yet is minutes to the city’s best shopping, medical centers and cultural venues, and the community stays even closer to the founders’ vision. Kirkwood began as a non-profit created by the Independent Presbyterian Church to offer continuing care retirement of non-paralleled attention to details and advantages. Open to people of all faiths, Kirkwood is the only retirement community in the area to have it’s own full time chaplain, and one of the most beautiful stained glass and stone walled chapels found in any community. This spirit of caring is felt in every level of care, from those who prepare the special meals needed by specialty care residents, to the speech and physical therapists, nurses and staff in skilled nursing. “But this caring is most evident in how we cater to your spirit. We don’t promise the moon, we give you five star retirement,” Ellison said. Those who seek out Kirkwood have a spirit for life, discovery and renewal that makes them as unique as the community. Kirkwood fulfills this spirit in trips to the symphony, natural wonders, museums and landmarks that bring residents


Mount Royal Towers

Sandi Hall, left, marketing coordinator, and Laura Ellison, marketing director of Kirkwood by the River. together in a spirit of fun, and in concerts that bring beauty to everyday life. “We fulfill your spirit for companionship in our community dining rooms, classes, library and public spaces, and your spirit for family in continuing care that keeps loved ones close, in an environment that’s closest to the way you would care for them.” “Plan a visit, and discover how this community in the heart of the South’s most beautiful natural surroundings, can fulfill your heart’s desire.” Kirkwood is planning a re-grand opening following the completion of its latest renovation. For information contact Laura Ellison at lellison@ Kirkwood by the River is located off I-459 near Grants Mill Road at 3605 Ratliff Road, 9562184.

Mount Royal Towers is a full-service senior living community located in Vestavia Hills offering senior apartments, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing rehab all in one location. With individualized senior living programs and an on-campus physician, Mount Royal Towers offers personalized care for life. “Mount Royal Towers first opened in August of 1983 as the premier senior community of Birmingham,” says Renée Barnard, president. “Celebrating our thirtieth year, we continue to provide exceptional care for our residents and the most comprehensive offering of senior living programs and care services in the Birmingham area.” “Our professional and personable staff attends to the care needs of each of our residents. Mount Royal Towers’ medical director and in-house physician, Dr. Scott Touger, has a full-service medical office onsite and, if necessary, can even make house calls to

Mount Royal is also a community within itself. On the ground floor is Main Street featuring a full-service doctor’s office, a convenience/drug store, a bank, and a barber and beauty shop. The community also offers a library, furnished lounges, private dining room, sun terrace and recreational facilities.

Reneeʼ Barnard, president/owner of Mount Royal Towers in Vestavia Hills. residents in their own private apartments.” “Mount Royal is also a community within itself. On the ground floor is Main Street featuring a full-service doctor’s office, a convenience/drug store, a bank, and a barber and beauty shop. The community also offers a library, furnished lounges, private dining room, sun terrace and recreational facilities. In addition, an exciting activity program engages residents and, with the community transportation, offers excursions throughout the greater Birmingham area. Private accommodations at Mount Royal Towers provide captivating views from its hilltop location,” Barnard said. Mount Royal Towers is located at 300 Royal Tower Drive in Vestavia Hills, 870-5666.

“Kirkwood is what I always dreamed about, an enchanting place that feels like home.” - A Kirkwood Resident

Located on 120 beautiful wooded acres in the foothills of the Appalachian.

• Independent Living • Assisted Living • Memory Care Assisted Living • Skilled Nursing • Medicare Rehab

3605 Ratliff Road • Birmingham, AL 35210 • 205.956.2184

Mount Royal Towers is a full-service senior living community located in Vestavia Hills offering senior apartments, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s care and Skilled Nursing rehab all in one location. Mount Royal Towers offers an on-campus physician and personalized care...for life.

300 Royal Tower Drive • Vestavia Hills, Alabama 35209 (205) 870-5666 MRT OTMJ Seniors Profile Ad.indd 1

3/14/2013 2:10:46 PM



Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 25

Danberry at Inverness

At the senior living community of Danberry at Inverness, you’ll find more than distinctive retirement living. You’ll also find a staff of attentive and friendly individuals with one goal in mind: making residents happy. “We offer a full, professional staff, eager to serve,� said Danberry Marketing Director Lori Krueger. “Everything is about helping our residents make the most of this comprehensive lifestyle. At Danberry, you can keep living life as you choose and have the best.� Danberry amenities include a clubhouse with card rooms, a ballroom, indoor swimming pool, creative art studio, salon/ spa, theater, fitness studio, innovative wellness programs and much more. Residents enjoy chef-prepared menus and dining with friends in the casual bistro or more formal dining room. Services include scheduled transportation, concierge and weekly housekeeping. For those in need of a helping hand, 24-hour licensed professional nursing is available on-site in Assisted Living at Danberry. Again, the atmosphere is comfortable, friendly and luxurious. The highly skilled staff can help with medication management, grooming, bathing, dining and activities. On-site physical and occupational therapy also are available. Danberry is managed by CRSATM, An LCSTM Company, representing more than 200 years of collective, hands-on experience with 75 senior communities in 27 states. Add to that the combined experience of Danberry department heads and you have a lot of knowledge working for you. Danberry at Inverness is the flagship housing development for Daniel Corporation. “We believe that Danberry offers people over 55 senior living unlike anywhere else—tremendous value,� said Krueger. “For example, our apartment floor plans are larger and we offer more choices. Our amenities are resort-caliber. Our award-winning architectural design invites nature indoors. It all comes together to make the Danberry difference: a philosophy focused on celebrating life with style.� When you think of Danberry, Krueger says, think resort, hospitality--a fluffy robe, cascading waterfall, tantalizing appetizers and a refreshing swim. And, she adds, a professional

Above: The atrium at Danberry is the center of the clubhouse that connects the common areas, providing a place residents can enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail with friends before dinner. Right: Lori Krueger, marketing director and Jaclyn Gardner, executive director of Danberry at Inverness. staff that is second to none. “We are like one big family at Danberry,� she said. “Staff members and residents share experiences and support one another. Our resident satisfaction is always outstanding; reflecting the friendly atmosphere you’ll find here. At Danberry, our approach is simple—we’re here to make our residents’ lives easier. We handle the details while you relax and enjoy the things you love. “Our residents will tell you: they wish they’d moved here sooner. They love the carefree, fun-filled and rewarding retirement lifestyle they find at Danberry,� said Krueger. “And we love serving them!� Danberry at Inverness is located on Lake Heather just off Highway 280 and Valleydale Road in Hoover, 443-9500.

What’s life really like at Danberry at Inverness? Let our “resident experts� tell you! 0VSpanel of resident experts want to share their experience concerning the EFDJTJPOUPNPWF choosing a residence, talking to their family and what life is like for them now. If ZPVhSFDVSJPVT about what retirement living is like at Danberry, this is your chance to get the answers"TL questions, make new friends, and get the scoop on what makes Danberry distinctively different!

Resident Panel Discussion Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2 p.m. Refreshments

RSVP to 205-443-9500 by April 15th Distinctively Different Retirement Living

235 Inverness Center Drive Hoover, AL 35242

26 • Thursday, March 21, 2013



Co-owners of Caring Senior Service are from left: Eva and Bruce Ovitt and Robbi Thompson.

Enjoying activities at Rittenhouse Senior Living recently were, from left: Vaudell Langston, Katy Scott and Frances Lokey.

Rittenhouse Senior Living of Hoover Rittenhouse Senior Living, established in 2007, is a retirement community based in Philadelphia, Pa. and owned by Ed Tavish and Frank Wehe. Rittenhouse Senior Living currently has 6 communities. “The thought behind Rittenhouse Senior Living ownership is to always put the residents first,” says Michelle Pendley, Alabama executive director. “This is achieved by providing a great living environment and exceptional care. This is accomplished by hiring the best employees in each market providing them with a supportive work environment, health insurance benefits and paid time off to be with their families. “Our community was purchased in May of 2008 by Rittenhouse Senior Living. Ed and Frank are very hands on owners and make frequent visits to the community. Rittenhouse Senior Living

is privately held and empowers their executive directors to make good decisions everyday. With over a century of experience between the executive team members, Rittenhouse strives everyday to provide the best possible care.” “The people at Rittenhouse Senior Living believe that residents come first--in everything. The care places individual progress and personal fulfillment as its highest objective. The focus on each resident and their enjoyment gives Rittenhouse its refreshing charm. It is the reason we can attract better, more passionate caregivers, and it’s embedded in our hearts to keep this tradition moving forward.” Rittenhouse Senior Living of Hoover is located at 570 Southland Drive in Hoover, 8232393.

StarNew Pr ting icing a at on dded ly $2 ! 700

We've listened…

Rittenhouse is now offering 2 pricing packages to better fit your needs. When your loved ones can no longer stay at home, Rittenhouse Senior Living of Hoover is here to welcome you in! We specialize in the finest Assisted Living and Memory Care.

No Community Fee, No Move-in Fee, No additional care cost, no more worries! 2 pricing packages available at 1 convenient location!

Caring Senior Service “At Caring Senior Service, we believe that every senior should be able to remain healthy, happy and at home,” says Eva Ovitt, co-owner. “For over two decades Caring Senior has set the standard for nonmedical in-home services such as personal care, meal preparation, transportation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, companionship and respite care. The Birmingham caring Senior Service branch is now open in downtown Homewood and ready in an hour to provide GreatCare.” Having had the opportunity over the last 10 years to provide care to thousands of Birmingham residents at Respiratory Sleep Associates, owners Bruce and Eva Ovitt have now partnered with their RSA Office Manager, Robbi Thompson to open Caring Senior Service here in Homewood. Together, they possess over 60 years of clinical expertise

in respiratory therapy, nursing and occupational therapy. Though CSS provides “non-medical” services, their backgrounds complement the GreatCare Method to provide quality caregivers, unique care solutions and active involvement in their clients lives. “Change Happens at all stages of life and when an elderly person gets to the point where remaining at home safely is in question, the options can become complex and challenging. Knowing someone you can trust to provide solutions to your unique care needs in now just a call away. Let us help you regain control and remain healthy, happy and at home,” Ovitt said. Caring Senior Services is located at 2900 Central Ave. Suite 134, Homewood, 533-6263.

Caring Senior Service We provide



Quality Caregivers We know that great service can only be delivered by qualified, experienced staff.

Care Solutions Each situation is different and unique and there is no one solution that works for everyone.

Active Involvement At Caring we believe that in order to provide quality service we must stay involved with the client, family and other professional care providers.

Our Caregivers provide: • Personal Care • Respite Care • Meal Preparation • Light Housekeeping • Transportation • Medication Reminders • Errand Service • Companionship Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Low Flat Rate, No Hidden Fees.

570 Southland Drive Hoover, Al 35226 Phone: 205-823-2393 Fax: 205-823-2304

Located in Downtown Homewood 2900 Central Avenue, Suite 134 205-533-6263



New Board Members for New Horizons

The 2013 members of the Hoover New Horizons Advisory Board are ready to keep seniors involved and active. Front, from left: Judy Mackinsaw, Beverly Sublette, Janice Watson, Diane Scripps and Earline Dance. Back: Jim Langley, Bruce Martin and Ken Sullivan.

Members of the 2013 Hoover New Horizons Advisory Board have been named. The advisory board actively recruits other senior volunteers to assist with coordinating and implementing monthly luncheons, special events and activities and group travel. The board also participates in and recruits seniors for other volunteer opportunities at the Hoover Senior Center. Jim Langley is the new president. Beverly Sublette is vice president. Janice Watson is secretary, and Judy Mackinaw is treasurer. Other advisory board members are Bruce Martin, Ken Sullivan, Diane Scripps, Earline Dance, Shirley Graham and Donna Wiltsey. ❖

VIRCIGLIO, From Page 22

Virciglio said many things about the retail business and particularly the grocery business have changed over the years. “Well, for one thing, we used to have maybe eight different kinds of cereal that we carried, and now we have aisles and aisles of choices,” he said. “Then there’s computers. We used to do everything, I mean everything, by hand. We tagged items by hand, we rang up orders on the old cash registers and we’d never even heard of a computer back then.” Virciglio said he’s also witnessed the rise of the modern-day supermarket during his time in the business. “I remember when they opened the first supermarket over on Southside, the A&P. It was about 10,000 to 12,000 square feet and we thought it was a giant store,” he said. “I don’t think back then I ever thought they’d build even bigger supermarkets.” But while a lot of things have changed over the years, Virciglio said the advice his father gave him when he was starting out in the business still holds true today. “My father taught me that when you give a man your word, it means something and that you treat people how you want to be treated. That’s true in business and in life, and that’s how I’ve always tried to be,” he said. Virciglio said he’s watched the business change from one that primarily consisted of mom-and-pop businesses to one of big box

As a teenager, Stanley Virciglio worked in his fatherʼs grocery store and took over the business when he retired in 1976.

Photo special to The Journal

retailers. “I don’t think we ever dreamed that there would be so many huge supermarkets and that your corner grocery stores would almost disappear. That’s been a difficult change in the business,” he said. He said he thinks his family’s business has been able to survive those changes and thrive because of its dedication to people. Virciglio and his wife of 58 years, Sue, have

four adult children and six grandchildren. Their son, Andy, is in the family business and their grandson, Austin, also joined the Piggly Wiggly workforce after he graduated from college in 2010, Virciglio said. “We’ve always cared about our customers and our employees, and it shows. You can go anywhere to buy groceries, but you can’t get that kind of quality product and quality service just anywhere. I think that’s one reason we’re still here,” he said. Virciglio said his longtime customers are like family members to him, and he enjoys being a part of the community. “I’ve got one customer who’s been trading with us since 1952. She comes in here every Thursday and tells me she looks forward to it, and I look forward to it, too. I always look for her on Thursdays so we can talk and catch up,” he said. Virciglio said it’s the friendships he has made over the years that keep him coming to work each morning. “I just feel so lucky to still be able to work and to see the people and do the best I can for them,” he said. Working long past retirement age has helped him stay young at heart, Virciglio said. “Look, hard work never killed anyone, and I think it is better to be up and working than sitting still and withering away. You have to eat right, you have to exercise and you have to do something that you love doing every day,” he said. ❖

where I didn’t want to come to work.” What draws her to the office every morning, From Page 22 Gorrie said, are the relationships she has formed with her customers over the years. became an active volunteer in the community “I love people and I love to make them once she moved back to the Birmingham area. happy. That’s a great motivator. The only probFor several years, Gorrie worked lem I have when it at the Gate House Gift Shop at the comes to getting to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. work every morning “I think my time working in art and is figuring out what my time working at the gift shop both I’m going to wear,” led me to where I am today. I learned to she said. develop an eye for things during both Gorrie has five of those jobs, and that has a lot to do grandchildren and with what I try to do here at Blackjack three step grandchilGardens every day,” she said. dren that inspire her While the economy has been tough on to stay active. She the retail industry in the last few years, said she thinks conGorrie said she takes pride in knowing tinuing to work at she helps her customers create their own a job she loves has vacation-at-home atmospheres. kept her sharp and “Even if people couldn’t afford to go healthy. to the beach, I felt like we could offer “You have to stay them someplace special to relax at their active. You have to own homes,” she said. keep learning. You Gorrie said she thinks the continued have to believe in success of Blackjack Gardens comes yourself and go after down to her understanding her customers your dreams, no and their loyalty. Frances Gorrie, right, celebrates the opening of Blackjack Gardens with her matter how old you “In this economy, you really have to daughter, Ellen Walker, in 1998. She started the new venture instead of retiring. are,” she said. ❖ find your niche, and we’ve been able to Photo special to The Journal


do that,” she said. Gorrie said she’s never regretted giving up a traditional retirement for a second career. “For me, rattling around in a house by yourself is not the answer,” she said. “There’s never been a moment where I wanted to walk away,

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 27

Somerby at St. Vincents One Nineteen Somerby Senior Living is a high-quality provider of senior housing and retirement living communities in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. “At Somerby, our mission is to inspire and nurture successful aging each and every day,” says Yvonne Tenorio, area director of sales and marketing. “In that mindset, we’ve charged ourselves with fulfilling our mission by ensuring all residents have the opportunity to be as active, independent and engaged as they want to be.” “Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen opened in the Fall of 2009 and is owned and managed by Somerby Senior Living, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Partners, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. The principals of Dominion Partners have been actively involved in owning and developing senior living communities for more than 20 years, consistently providing quality retirement living throughout the Southeast. This experience and commitment forms the foundation upon which we’ve built The Somerby Spark – an approach to retirement living that is reflected in our associates every day, and embodied in our core values: integrity, nurture, smile, professionalism, initiative, respect and excellence. Together, these core values create a way of life and a philosophy of living designed to spark the imagination. “There are three important features that separate Somerby at St. Vincent’s One Nineteen from any other retirement living option in the area that a prospective resident will encounter: No buy-in: In order to manage your money, you must have control of your money. Our no buyin approach allows you to direct your assets, so you have command over your retirement. Instead of paying us a buy-in fee, you keep your money and invest it, spend it or save it. It’s up to you and your loved ones to decide. But isn’t that the way it should always be? Wellness: Staying healthy means more than just getting a little exercise. That’s why at the center of our wholeperson wellness philosophy is Masterpiece Living®. A research-based initiative developed in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, it brings residents an exclusive, groundbreaking approach to a lifestyle of wellness. Based on findings from a 10-year study funded by the MacArthur Foundation, Masterpiece Living creates an entire lifestyle designed to help residents age more successfully by fostering the continued growth of their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual selves. Altogether, it’s a lifestyle designed to inspire you to reach your fullest potential every day. Peace of mind: Any plan for the future should provide you and your loved ones a great level of comfort and predictability. So we offer the highest standard of quality health care services – including assisted living, memory and Alzheimer’s care, short-term respite care, as well as a full spectrum of rehabilitation therapies. All services are delivered on site by professionals you know – and included in the predictable monthly rate. “No other community in the entire area can match our complete retirement package. Here you’ll find a remarkable living experience centered on one thing — helping you and your loved ones control and protect the future, while getting everything you want out of life — and then some. “We call it The Somerby Spark, and it ignites the difference between our retirement lifestyle and anything else,” Tenorio said. Somerby at St. Vincents One Nineteen is located at 200 One Nineteen Blvd., Hoover, 408-6005.

28 • Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life-Changing Technology


Homewood Company Helps Clients Live More Independently BY KEYSHA DREXEL



hen Kevin Braswell opened his home automation company in Homewood 10 years ago, his goal was to offer new technology for the home at a lower price point than his competitors. But a few years into his new endeavor, the 41-year-old had an experience that changed the focus of Smart Solutions. “About four years ago, I had a cerebral hemorrhage, and that got me thinking about different ways to use automated technology to help people with physical limitations,” he said. Now, Braswell said about 90 percent of his business is devoted to giving senior citizens and those with disabilities the tools and technology they need to live independently in their own homes. The company does everything from installing security cameras in mother-in-law suites to outfitting medicine cabinets with sensors that are able to tell whether a client has

taken his medication on time or not. The technology offered by Smart Solutions, he said, allows clients to manage their living environment-lighting, climate, security and more-all from a user-friendly touch panel. Braswell said his goal is to make assistive technology affordable and reliable so that those who wish to stay in their homes instead of going to an assisted living facility have that option. “The technology is really exciting, but what I find truly inspiring is that we can use all of these tools to help our parents and grandparents stay at home longer,” he said. “It really is a quality of life issue.” The company is also expanding its offerings for clients who have very limited physical abilities, including those with spinal cord injuries. Braswell recently partnered with Kinetic Communications in Birmingham to develop custom software that will allow clients to control their lights, door locks, televisions and home thermostats all with the literal blink of an eye. The new software runs on either a

‘I was lucky and fully recovered, but I remember that feeling of helplessness, of feeling trapped by the limitations of my body.’

Kevin Braswell shows technology his Homewood-based company has developed to help senior citizens and those with disabilities stay in their homes longer. Journal photo by Keysha Drexel

only brush with a personal computer potentially debilitator tablet and uses ing medical issue. cameras to track the When he was 9 eye movements of years old, Braswell the users.  868-9311 had his first cerebral “All the perwww.smarthomehemorrhage. son has to do, for “I was lucky and example, is look at fully recovered, but I the icon with the remember that feeling of helplessness, light bulb on their iPad, blink, and of feeling trapped by the limitations the lights come on in their home,” he of my body. That feeling came back said. to me when I had the second cerebral The cerebral hemorrhage he sufhemorrhage a few years ago. I knew fered a few years ago was not his

Homewood Has New Full Service Cycle Shop


Vince Robinson, owner of Edgewood Cycles chose to open his shop in Homewood because the city has an active biking community.


iking enthusiasts have a new place to gear up for their rides. Edgewood Cycles opened in late October in Homewood across the street from Homewood Antiques in Edgewood. The full service bike shop performs repairs on any brand of bicycle and sells road and mountain bikes for any age or skill level, said owner Vince Robinson. Robinson, who has been racing bikes since he was a child, said he wanted to open his first business in Homewood because the city has an active biking community. “There’s a great cycling scene here with a lot of road bikers and people who ride BMX,” he said. Robinson said he is thankful to be working in a business that still makes him feel like a kid. “It’s my parents’ fault for getting me that first bike,” he said, laughing. Robinson said he’s excited about sharing his lifelong passion with his customers. “It’s been a dream of mine my whole life to run my own shop, and I’m glad I get to share my experience with people coming in the shop every day,” he said. Edgewood Cycles also sells baby joggers, trailers, clothing and riding gear and bike messenger bags Robinson designs himself. “Prior to opening my first retail shop with Edgewood Cycles, I designed and sold messengerstyle laptop bags for bikes, and I wanted to keep offering those once I opened the store, “ he said. For more information, visit or call 783-1355.

OTM Residents Win ADDY Advertising Awards Two graphic design students from Over the Mountain communities were honored for their work at the Birmingham ADDY Awards ceremony on Feb. 7. The annual event celebrates the best in advertising. Amy Clark of Mountain Brook won the Best in Show Campaign category for her work with other students on a rebranding campaign for Sloss Furnaces called “Steam Punk Since 1882.” M. Umair Khan The entry also won a silver award in the Student Campaign category. In the Student Packaging category, the silver award went to M. Umair Khan of Hoover for his project on Golden Egg Co. The students are both art studio majors with a concentration in graphic design. They are taught by UAB Assistant Professor Doug Barrett and Department of Art and Art History Chair and Professor Erin Wright.

Samford Students Win Marketing Challenge Samford University Brock School of Business and journalism and mass communication students won the Taziki’s Collegiate Marketing Challenge in December. The team was headed by Caitlin Linder and

I had to use my experience with technology to try and make a difference in the lives of those people who were not as lucky as I have been and didn’t recover from a stroke or other devastating event like that,” he said. He said his own personal experience helps him serve his customers better. “I’ve lived it, if only briefly, and so I can relate to my customers in a different way and understand better where they are coming from,” he said. Braswell’s professional background in information technology is what first led him to found Smart Solutions. “At that time, we were in the middle of the housing boom, and there were a lot of new home construction projects that wanted to integrate the latest in home automation technology,” he said. “But after the housing market took a nosedive, I had to shift gears, so we started working to retrofit houses with the latest technology for senior citizens and those with disabilities.” Braswell said since he has shifted the focus of Smart Solutions, his work has become even more rewarding. He said he recently finished a project for a man who can move only his thumb due to a spinal cord injury. “He had never been able to turn on the television for himself or open a door or turn on the lights, but when we finished the project at his house, he could do all of that by just moving his thumb,” he said. “I’ve seen how this technology can truly be lifechanging for people.” ❖

included Henry Heaton, Reed Richardson and Jenna Young. The team was under the faculty direction of Dr. Betsy Holloway of the Brock School of Business. The students competed against 24 college teams from five states to win the $5,000 grand prize. As part of the project, students were challenged to propose a new market for Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe and to develop a business and marketing plan around their idea. The Samford team focused on New Orleans’ Uptown area because the demographics there closely align with Taziki’s topgrossing market, Mountain Brook. “Our students participated in this competition above and beyond their regular course load,” said Howard Finch, dean of the Brock School of Business. “This is one of many opportunities we provide for them to apply what they learn in the classroom in a real world setting.”

Linn Wins Truck Dealer of the Year Award for 2013 Drew Linn, president of Homewood-based Southland International Trucks, was named the 2013 Truck Dealer of the Year. Linn accepted the 2013 Truck Dealer of the Award at the American Truck Dealers Convention and Expo on Feb. 9 in Orlando, Fla. “It’s an accomplishment made possible by our 200 dealership employees,” Linn said during his acceptance speech. The national award is sponsored by American Truck Dealers and Heavy Duty Trucking magazine. It focuses on excellence in dealership performance as well as industry and community leadership.

Renaissance Consignment Expands Store with Decor Treasure hunters now have even more to discover at the newly expanded Renaissance Consignment & Marketplace on Cahaba Valley Road. Owner Kathy McMahon and Tammy Heinss, the store’s visual merchandising manager, unveiled a new home decor showroom in February. The almost 10,000-square-foot space mixes furniture and home furnishings and accessories with the consigned

Kathy McMahon and Jane Ann Mueller of Renaissance Consignment & Marketplace. Photo special to The Journal clothing, formal dresses and designer handbags Renaissance has offered its customers for years, McMahon said. She said the vision for the expansion was reflective of her passion for salvaging treasures that her customers can use. For more details, call 980-4471.

Sloane Hudson, left, and Lindsey Kondritz are managers at Private Gallery. Photo special to The Journal

Private Gallery Opening New Store at The Summit Private Gallery will have a grand opening celebration on March 22 at 6 p.m. at its new location at The Summit. The store’s offerings are expanding at the new location, described by local managers Sloane Hudson and Lindsey Kondritz as a “one-stop shop for women of all ages.”

Although the physical move is not a big one for the store--the former location was also at The Summit--the managers said the new space allows them to expand the depth of the items Private Gallery carries. The first Private Gallery store opened in Fairhope in 2004 as primarily a jewelry store. Hudson said the new store at The Summit will serve as the new flagship design for upcoming renovation projects planned at Private Gallery locations across Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. The store is teaming up with its new neighbor, Lime Restaurant, to officially open the new location with a party on Friday. Lime Restaurant will provide hors d’oeuvres for the party. The celebration will also include giveaways and special promotions. For more information, call 969-1559.

Ignite Fitness Expands into Vestavia Hills Ignite Fitness has announced expansion plans with the opening of Ignite Fitness Vestavia. Scheduled to open on April 1, this will be the second site for Ignite Fitness since it opened its Hoover location in May 2010. Ignite Fitness is a licensed CrossFit affiliate and part of a fitness community that has swept the country over the past few years. The aim of CrossFit is to forge broad, general and inclusive fitness with a specialty of not specializing. The workouts are modifiable and scalable, making them suitable for all fitness levels and ages. Shane Rodriguez, owner of Ignite Fitness, has partnered with Clay Adams, a friend and fellow CrossFit certified instructor, to open the Vestavia location. Adams will primarily manage and coach at the new location with Rodriguez continuing at the Hoover location. For a small additional fee, members will be able to utilize classes at either location. “We are excited to see so many in our community changing their lives through CrossFit. We are passionate about making a difference, whether

Ignite Fitness’ Clay Adams, left, and Shane Rodriguez. Photo special to The Journal it’s an athlete looking for a competitive edge or a midlife couple who want to remain active and healthy,” Rodriguez said. “CrossFit works for just about everyone, and that is why it has become so popular.” For more information, visit www.

Hoover Resident Makes Top 40 List Steven Ceulemans of Hoover, vice president of innovation and technology for the Birmingham Business Alliance, has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s “40 Under 40” awards, the firstever awards program recognizing young talent in the economic development profession. A fivemember Steven Ceulemans selection committee chose the winners from more than 150 candidates based on their exceptional

contributions to the economic development industry. The awards program was managed by Development Counsellors International, a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing. DCI also represents the BBA in its marketing activities. “The BBA is very proud to have Steve on our team and working for the advancement of businesses in the Birmingham region,” said Rick Davis, BBA senior vice president of economic development. “He is a tremendous asset to our economic development team, and we congratulate him on another welldeserved national honor.” Ceulemans has experience in economic development, biotechnology and international business. He joined the BBA in 2011 from the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. At the BBA, he has helped form a strategic partnership between the local business community and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to support the growth of research and development in the Birmingham region. He recently completed a prestigious fellowship within the National Academies in Washington, D.C., for the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program. DCI’s “40 Under 40” award was designed to discover the economic development profession’s rising stars. “The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andy Levine, president of DCI. “They are a new breed of results-driven place makers. We’re very pleased to see Steve among the winners.” DCI officially announced the winners at an awards reception during the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Orlando and will feature an in-depth profile of each on its website during 2013. ❖

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Linn began his career in 1965 with International Harvester, now known as Navistar. He said throughout his extensive career, he has remained focused on providing excellent service to his customers. “If you treat a customer the way you would want to be treated, then you will have a customer for life,” Linn said. To show his commitment to his customers, Linn included his personal contact information in advertisements and dealership signage. He has also worked closely with Navistar as part of its Dealer Council to help other dealers work to resolve issues and identify opportunities in the truck market. “Drew has always been in tune with our needs,” said Chris Hornady, president of Hornady Transportation LLC, a Southland International customer. “From instituting weekend shifts to make himself personally available, Drew makes sure that we have access to service whenever we need it, because our business runs seven days a week.” As a member and former chairman of the Alabama Trucking Association, Linn also worked to expand member services for dealers throughout the state. He was instrumental in establishing one of the first truck driving schools in the state. Linn said he loves the personal interaction of the business. “I spend more and more of my time coaching because our team’s getting bigger,” he said. “I love the interaction with the customers, but I love even more the interaction with our people. The older I get, the more gratifying it is to see them become successful.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 29



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30 • Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hoover’s Finest


2013 Finley Award Winners to Be Honored March 21 By Margaret Frymire


Journal staff Writer

oover City Schools will honor three of its finest at the 2013 Finley Awards banquet on March 21. The 6 p.m. event at the Cahaba Grand Conference center will honor one teacher and two students who were nominated by the community and their peers to receive the Finley Award. Teacher Jason Watson and seniors Hunter Gibson and Thomas Paduch each received the 2013 Finley Award for their character, faith, leadership, humility and integrity. The award is named in honor of Coach Bob Finley, who taught and coached at W.A. Berry High School, now Hoover High, from 1963-1994. Finley was known as a humble gentleman. The community and school system considered him a man of great integrity and strong Christian faith, according to school officials. In 1996, the Finley Committee for Character Education was formed to recognize students and employees who, like Finley, exemplify exceptional character. Throughout the year, the committee honors students in grades

Tom Paduch, center, is congratulated by Superintendent Andy Craig, left, and Spain Park High School Principal Dr. Ken Jarnagin for being Spain Park High School’s Finley Award winner. Photos special to The Journal

Hunter Gibson is the Finley Award winner from Hoover High School.

Jason Watson is the employee winner of the Finley Award for 2013.


K-12 for their achievements. Each year the group chooses three Finley Award Winners and one Character Recognition Award Winner from each Hoover City school. Watson is the employee winner of the Finley Award. He teaches seventhgrade social studies and coaches the eighth-grade football team at R.F. Bumpus Middle School. Watson is a University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate and Birmingham native. He began working for Hoover City Schools in 2003. His wife, Stephanie also works for Hoover City Schools. They have three children. Teachers, friends, coaches and other colleagues nominated Watson to receive the Finley Award. Among his nominators were several who knew Finley. “Jason encourages and expects the best from his students and athletes. He models the characteristics of honesty, hard work, trustworthiness and humbleness and expects the same qualities from the many young people he interacts with each day,” one nominator said. Hunter Gibson, a senior at Hoover High School, shares the student Finley Award with Tom Paduch. Gibson, 18, was involved in a serious golf cart accident during his sophomore year. He recovered from his accident and returned to the hospital as a volunteer, encouraging and supporting patients. “With every action, I grow more and more in awe of the amazing

young man I have come to know,” one nominator said about Gibson. “He has inspired me to be a better person, never fails to amaze me with his leadership and exemplifies what it means to truly put others before yourself. I cannot think of another person, in all my years of teaching, that is more deserving or more perfectly encompasses the Finley Award.” Gibson was named Mr. Hoover for the Class of 2013 and is Student Government Association president and a Hoover High School Ambassador. After graduation, he plans to attend Auburn University and pursue a career in medicine. Paduch, a senior at Spain Park High School, was also honored with the Finley Award. Paduch’s commitment to his faith, family and friends earned him the award, according to those who nominated him for the recognition. A student of Spain Park’s Engineering Academy, he plays for the baseball team and assists special needs students. “Tom Paduch possesses not only the tangible skill sets that we as educators are tasked to teach but also the intangible skill sets that we so often wish we could instill in young people today,” one nominator said. After graduation, Paduch plans to attend Mississippi State University and pursue a career in engineering. As award winners, Watson received $1,000 and Gibson and Paduch each received $500.❖

School Notes three years and has been a teacher for more than 11 years. Adema is a graduate of the University of Montevallo. In 1969, Jacksonville State University initiated a Teacher Hall of Fame under the direction of then-president Dr. Houston Cole. The program honors and recognizes the classroom teachers of public schools across the state.

Shades Cahaba Students Send Sweet Notes Highlands School students competed in a math tournament in Vestavia Hills. From left: Donald Wilson, Ahad Bashir and Shawn Goyal. Photos special to The Journal

Highlands Math Students Make Top 10 in Tourney Three Highlands School students scored in the Top 10 at the Vestavia Hills High School Math Competition. Fifth-graders Ahad Bashir and Shawn Goyal and sixth-grader Donald Wilson recently competed at the math event. All three scored within the Top 10 students in the sixth-grade division. Wilson also placed fifth in the mental math portion of the competition. In the team competition, the students finished in fifth place.

Briarwood Singers Perform at Disney Members of the Briarwood Christian School Chamber Singers became stars of their own Disney show in December when they entertained resort visitors at Epcot as part of the Disney Performing

Arts program. Dance groups, choirs, ensembles and marching bands from around the world apply to perform each year as part of Disney Performing Arts at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Once selected, groups have the opportunity to perform at the resort for an international audience of theme park guests. Millions of performers have performed at Disney parks in the more than 25-year history of the Disney Performing Arts Program.

Adema Nominated for JSU Hall of Fame Terri Adema has been selected as the Hoover City Schools middle school representative for the Jacksonville State Hall of Fame. Adema teaches seventh-grade science at R.F. Bumpus Middle School. She has taught at Bumpus for the last

“Roses are red, violets are blue, they are pretty, just like you” was just one of the many messages of love given to the homeless for Valentine’s Day from students at Shades Cahaba Elementary School in Homewood. The students gave their notes to the Salvation Army or people staying in emergency shelters on Valentine’s Day. The handmade cards were designed by DeLaine Ragland’s third-grade class. “They were made with love,” Ragland said. “They really put a lot of thought and time into these.” The school-wide activity was brought to teachers by Shades Cahaba counselor Marea Ennis. The idea was to make generic Valentine’s Day cards to be delivered to various Birmingham agencies. However, after learning about the project, a student in Ragland’s class wanted to know if she could distribute the cards specifically to the Salvation Army.  “It is just an amazing show of love from these children,” Salvation Army Associate Area Commander Capt.

Brookwood Forest Elementary School students participated in the Kids Marathon as part of the 2013 Mercedes Marathon. Photos special to The Journal Kathy Parker said. “Taking the time to do this always offers hope to those in a crisis situation.”

John Carroll Dance Team Wins First Place Awards The John Carroll Catholic High School Cavalettes won several awards at the UDA Alabama State Competition Jan. 26. The varsity team won first place in both the jazz and hip hop categories. The team also received recognition as “best entertainment for the day” for their hip hop routine. The junior varsity team won first place in the junior varsity hip hop category. The middle school dance team placed first for its jazz dance and second for its hip hop dance. The middle school team also won the Best

Choreography award for its jazz routine.

BWF Students Run in Mercedes Marathon Students at Brookwood Forest Elementary School participated in the Kids Marathon as part of the 2013 Mercedes Marathon in February in downtown Birmingham. To prepare for the event, students completed 20 of the 25.2 training miles during their physical education classes at school. The additional five miles were completed on Sunday afternoons at Mountain Brook High School’s track and at the loop around Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church. The school had 52 students running the last mile during the Kids Marathon on Feb. 18.


Giving Back

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 31


Vestavia Hills High SGA Raises $20,000 for United Cerebral Palsy


he Student Government Association at Vestavia Hills High School recently presented a check for $20,000 to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham. The students not only raised money for the UCP’s adult program, LINCPoint, but also collected and donated supplies for the program, including food and athletic equipment. Each year, the SGA at the school selects a charity to support. This year, VHHS Coach Bruce Evans and his wife, Donna, brought the UCPLINCPoint program to the attention of the SGA and their faculty sponsors, Beth Walston and Jennifer Carson. The SGA lead the student body in several different activities to raise money and supplies for the chosen philanthropy, including the Barbecue the Bucs event, the Homecoming King competition, Pajama Day and

the faculty basketball game. In January, a special assembly was held at the school to announce the results of the students’ efforts. Coach Evans’ son, JamesBruce Evans was a special honoree at the assembly.  He is a former VHHS student and a participant in the UCP LINCPoint program.  JamesBruce was also honored at a reception prior to the assembly program. Linda Brady, the exceptional children director for Vestavia Hills City Schools, attended the assembly and commended the students for reaching out to help others. “I have worked in many different schools and different schools systems.  There’s no place where I have seen the passion and tolerance for people who are a little different than in Vestavia Hills City Schools,” she said. “These kids really take care of those who need it.  You can’t teach that.” LINCPoint Director Janis Braue

The Vestavia Hills High School Student Government Association presented a $20,000 check and supplies to a United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham program for adults. From left: Donna Evans, JamesBruce Evans, Nicole Lamb, Jojo Williams, Abby Graham, Abby Gosdin, Marilyn Gray, Aaron Fine, Jake Long and Robert Shaffeld. Photo special to The Journal

attended the assembly and accepted the donations on behalf of UCP and said the organization was overwhelmed at the outpouring of support from the school. The program currently provides services to 145 people, Janis said, each with unique needs. “The support of this school allows us to move in new directions and we are eternally grateful for the support

of VHHS,” she said. Janis said the program is looking for volunteers as it gears up for future events. “We love volunteers and visitors. Anyone is welcome to call us and schedule a tour,” she said. “We are getting ready for the Special Olympics and welcome anyone with a heart for special needs to come.” For more information on

LINCPoint or United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, visit www. ucpbham or call 943-5300. The students at Vestavia Hills High are also gearing up for future fundraising events.  Their next big philanthropy event will be the Relay for Life on April 20, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. ❖

grader Caroline Lee. Amrita represented her school at the city-wide spelling bee on Jan. 29. In the geography bee, sixthgrader Asher Asher Desai Desai proved his knowledge of world geography by becoming this year’s champion. Eighth-grader James Hoyt was the runner-up. Asher will next complete Amrita Lakhanpal a standardized test for a chance to compete in the state level geography bee on April 5.

ISS Students Play in State Orchestra Festival

School Notes Litwin visited the school on Jan. 14 to congratulate Cole on winning the contest and to answer questions from Cole and other second-graders at the school about writing and illustrating books.

Altamont Crowns Bee Winners for 2013

Oak Mountain Elementary School students ran in the 2013 Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham in February. Photos special to The Journal

OMES Runners Participate in Mercedes Marathon Oak Mountain Elementary School had 100 students register to run in the Mercedes Marathon one-mile Fun Run Feb. 16. Physical education coaches Allen McGowan and Sallie Youngblood worked with the students each day in P.E. classes to prepare for the marathon. The students learned about having a healthy mindset and reaching their fitness goals. Eighteen faculty and staff members from the school participated in the Mercedes Marathon this year.

Young Artists Honored at Crestline Elementary Crestline Elementary School held a reception on Feb. 6 to honor the student winners of the Expressions Art Contest. The contest is open to all students in the Mountain Brook school system. Students compete in the categories

Students at Altamont School are being recognized for their spelling skills and geography knowledge. The school recently hosted school finals for the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the National Geographic Society Geography Bee. In the spelling competition, sixthgrader Amrita Lakhanpal spelled her way to the top spot with “comportment.” Sixth-grader Maya Guru won second place, and third place went to fifth-

of visual arts, photography, film and literature. Students first compete against each other at the school level with the winner going on to participate in the district level contest. Fifth-grader Alice Monk won first place for her photograph of a seal and second place for her photo of an iguana. Her brother, second-grader Richard Monk, won an honorable mention for his photo. Second-grader Margaret Krawczyk won first place for her painting.

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Greystone Artist Wins Drawing Contest A second-grader at Greystone Elementary School in Hoover won a national drawing contest. Cole Richardson, a student in Carol McLaughlin’s class, was the winner of the Scholastic Pete the Cat: Draw My Shoes contest. Cole’s winning drawing included creating new shoes for a character in author Eric Litwin’s books.

Three Indian Springs School students were selected to participate in the Alabama All-State Orchestra Festival in February. Taking part in the event were senior Makayla Phillips of Hoover, viola; freshman Daun Lee of Montgomery, cello; and eighth-grader Grace Ji of Birmingham, violin.

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Please make sure all informa Reading • Math • Writing • Chemistry • Study Skills SAT/ACT Prep • Algebra I&II •including Geometry •address Calculus and pho Greystone Elementary School student Cole Richardson, right, won a contest to create new shoes for a character in a book by author Eric Litwin, left. Photos special to The Journal

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32 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


School Notes Simmons Cast Performs at National Festival In January, Simmons Middle School students became the first Over the Mountain middle school students to perform on the mainstage at the Alabama Thespian Festival. Shortly after the close of the musical “Once on This Island Jr.” in October, Simmons was invited to perform at the state thespian festival at Samford University at the Leslie S. Wright Center. Delle Kincaid, director of theater arts at Simmons, said it is rare for a junior troupe to perform on the mainstage at the state festival and said it was “a first for a middle school from Hoover.” In addition, the musical was submitted to a selection committee for approval to perform at the National Junior Thespian Festival. Middle schools


Meet Mountain Brook’s New Young Leaders

from across the nation are encouraged to submit their plays and musicals to this committee. Three to four are chosen to perform as highlight events throughout the three-day festival. This was the Simmons students’ first year to apply, and they were accepted. They performed on March 2 for junior thespians from around the nation. The cast also participated in a series of workshops led by professional performers and geared towards growing their performance talents. Several of the cast members also competed in individual events. The musical is directed and choreographed by Kincaid. The music director is Dan Cater, choir director. The scenic design artist is Carrie McGrann, art director, and the live percussion ensemble was directed by Valerie Morgan, band director.

Several juniors and seniors at Mountain Brook High School have been selected for a yearlong program that teaches high school students about leadership and gives them the opportunity to be leaders in the city. The 2012-2013 class of Leadership Mountain Brook was announced at the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon at The Club in February. The program is led by Amber Benson at Mountain Brook High School and Hannon Davis at the chamber. Students selected for this year’s Leadership Mountain Brook class are Mary Parker Wetzler, Lindsey Kirk, Sarah Halbach, Frances Carson, Turner Hull, Christina Harmon, Brooke Littleton, Madalyn Rosenthal, Haley Fenn and Jordan Tynes. Other members of the new leadership class are Jack Royer, Jack Ferguson, Wade Louis, Jake Fleisher, Griffen Cope, John Buchanan, William Cole, William Tynes, Madeline Marx and Anne Merrick Hamilton.

Theater students from Simmons Middle School perform on stage at a national thespian festival. Photo special to The Journal

Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Talent Spotlighted at OLS Hula-hoops, gymnastics, karate, cheering, singing and dancing made for a fun-filled and entertaining night at the annual Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School talent show. More than 25 acts and 35 students participated in the event. Volunteers included Shayne Newsome and April Mize, event coordinators; Anthony Turkiewicz, emcee; Julie Foster, music coordinator; PTO President Kara Barlow, stage coordinator; Marcy Fleming, dressing room manager; AnneMarie Jordan and Katie Moellering. Seventh-grade room mothers and many volunteers supplied and sold concessions. Admission to the event was one canned food item or a cash donation for the Catholic Center of Concern, a faith-based organization that helps those

in need in the Birmingham area. More than 100 canned goods and $100 were donated at the talent show.

Eleanor Kyle plays the violin during the annual talent show at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Homewood. Photos special to The Journal

100 days of school and counting Students at Cherokee Bend Elementary School recently celebrated a milestone in the 201213 school year. The students celebrated the 100th day of school on Jan. 29. To mark the first 100th day of school in their academic careers, the kindergarten students came to school dressed like centenarians. They also practiced counting to 100 and participated in several activities related to the number 100. Photo special to The Journal

STARLAB Comes to Oak Mountain Elementary Oak Mountain Elementary recently hosted its annual STARLAB Week. STARLAB is an inflatable planetarium that brings the night sky into the classroom. All students in kindergarten through third grade had the opportunity to enter the planetarium and get an up-close look at the stars. They also had the chance to discover the constellations and learn folk legends about many of the constellations. Third-grade students got an even more in-depth understanding about the sky. The learned about solar weather, light years, star clusters and galaxies. The Oak Mountain Elementary School students also learned how constellations are used in science today, the effects of light pollution and about the usage of telescopes. ❖


Mr. and Mrs. Jim Calvert Murray of Wichita, Kan., announce the engagement of their daughter, Julianne Ashley, to Scott Joseph Bernstein, son of Mr. and Mrs. Randy David Bernstein of Mountain Brook.


Mr. and Mrs. John Halverson of Brandon, Miss., announce the engagement of their daughter, Dr. Angela Christine Halverson, to Dr. Christopher Howard Canales of Birmingham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tony Canales of Huntsville. The bride-elect is a summa cum laude graduate of Mississippi State


Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Robinson Taylor III of Birmingham and Mr. Lewis Carlyle McKinney Jr. of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Margaret Tanner McKinney, to Mark Philip Ratliff, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Acker Ratliff of

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 33

Weddings & engagements


Miss Murray is a 2004 graduate of Wichita Southeast High School and a 2008 graduate of the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in finance and international business. She was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is employed with Shoals Technologies Group as director of business development. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mrs. Anita Danneman and the late Mr. David Danneman and Mr. and Mrs. Sidney L. Bernstein, all of Mountain Brook. Mr. Bernstein is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2008 graduate of the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and business. He is co-owner of Standard Iron & Metal Company.  The wedding is planned for Sept. 21. University with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, where she received her D.M.D. Dr. Halverson will complete her orthodontic certificate program along with her post-doctoral master’s degree at the Medical University of South Carolina.   The prospective groom is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where he earned his commission as a naval officer and a bachelor’s degree in system engineering. Following 10 years of active service, he returned to Alabama, where he received his D.M.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. He completed his certificate program in orthodontics in addition to his post-doctoral master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Canales practices orthodontics in Vestavia Hills. The wedding will be April 20 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Stanley Mackin of Birmingham and the late Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Carlyle McKinney Sr. of Greenville, S.C. Miss McKinney is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and the University of Alabama, where she was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. She was presented at the Krewe Ball and the Ball of Roses. She is employed at Laura Kathryn Boutique. The prospective groom is the grandson of Mrs. James Kimble Vardaman Ratliff and the late Mr. Ratliff of Birmingham and the late Mr. and Mrs. John Roy Israel of Birmingham. Mr. Ratliff is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He is employed with Surgical Care Affiliates. The wedding is planned for June 1.

For wedding & engagement forms, call 823-9646.


Mackin Elizabeth McKinney and George Clinton Thompson Jr. were


Mr. and Mrs. Melville Dorman York III of Homewood and


Kristen Grace Gessler and George Bradley Twitty Jr. were married Feb.

married Jan. 12 at St. Mary’s-on-theHighlands. The Rev. Huey Gardner officiated the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Robinson Taylor III and Mr. Lewis Carlyle McKinney Jr., all of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Clinton Thompson Sr. of Birmingham. Given in marriage by her father, the bride was attended by Margaret Tanner McKinney as maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Margaret Lee Bobo, Elizabeth Ann Evans, Frances Brett Ford, Dorothy Thompson Goodner, Caroline Thompson Little, Katherine Ragland Mackin, Mary Aileen Mackin, Martee Box Moseley, Meagan Michell McPherson, Laura Burkhalter Newsom, Susan Ashley Richburg and Alice Lynn Harper.

The flower girls were Caroline Clinton Moseley and Nancy Ryals Little. The groom’s father was best man. Groomsmen were Andrew Todd Campbell, Sean Harrison Cowie, Hunter Gus Dallas, William Andrew Goodner, James Frank Justice, Adam Bradford Kay, Dr. Mark Dickson Little, Jordan Jack Moseley, Lewis Carlyle McKinney III, Henry Ross Perot III, Bryan Montgomery Reynolds and David Vandiver Thorpe. Readers were Elizabeth Garrabrant Ard, Lee Ashford Broughton, Vivian Brooking Yeilding and Mary Conyers Jernigan. Program attendants were Stacia Marion Bailey and Elizabeth Austin McRight. Crucifer was Stewart Jackson Moseley. The couple live in Birmingham.

Mr. Wallis Glover Litchfield of Montgomery announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Kathleen Litchfield, to Gregory Nolan Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Berset Smith of Charleston, S.C., formerly of Birmingham. The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Chapman of Opelika, Mrs. Norma York and the late Mr. Melville Dorman York II of Hueytown and the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank Earl Litchfield II of Montgomery. Miss Litchfield is a 2006 graduate of Homewood High School, a 2010 graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and a 2012 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a mas-

ter’s degree in occupational therapy. She was a member of the Auburn University Singers and the Auburn University Concert Choir. Miss Litchfield is employed with UAB Hospital. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Francis Joseph LeBlanc of Birmingham and the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ellis Smith of Charleston. Mr. Smith is a 2005 graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School and attended Auburn University, where he was a member of the Auburn University Singers and the Auburn University Concert Choir. He is employed with Ferguson Enterprises. The wedding will be April 27.

Jane Randolph Vann and Jesse Wey Sheue were married Dec. 23 at Morado Beach, Islamorado, Fla. The Rev. Charles Cannon of St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church officiated the 4:30 p.m. ceremony. A reception followed at Pierre’s Morado Bay. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Oliver Vann of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wey Sheue of Ketchum, Idaho. Given in marriage by her father, the bride was attended by her niece, Elizabeth Roberts Vann. Nieces Stella


Vann Henry, Sadie Knox Henry and Katherine Casey McDonald were flower girls. The bride’s sisters, Kimberly Moore Vann, Suzanne Vann McDonald and Serena Vann Henry, were the readers. The groom’s father was his best man. The bride’s nephews, Connor Vann McDonald and Robert Oliver McDonald, were ring bearers. The groom’s brother, Broc Coleman Sheue, and the bride’s brother, William Oliver Vann Jr., served as ushers. After a honeymoon to Belize, the couple live in San Francisco.

9 at Seaside Chapel in Seaside, Fla. The Rev. Bob Dean officiated the 5:00 p.m. ceremony. The wedding reception was held at Lyceum Lawn in Seaside. The bride is the daughter of Dr. Carl John Gessler Jr. and Mrs. Sarah Gessler of Huntsville. She is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Westbrook Jr. of Blytheville, Ark., and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Gessler of Hot Springs, Ark., and the late Mrs. Margaret Catherine Gessler. She is a graduate of Randolph School in Huntsville and the University of Georgia. She is employed with All Seasons Travel as a travel consultant. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Cook of Birmingham and Mr. George “Jug” Twitty Sr. of Birmingham. He is the grandson of Mr. Andrew Douglas Armstrong of Atlanta and the late Mrs. Margaret

Grady Armstrong of Atlanta and the late Mr. William Thomas Twitty and the late Mrs. Georgia Twitty Chellman, both of Nashville. He is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and Sewanee, The University of the South. He is employed by National Bank of Commerce as an analyst. The bride was presented in marriage by her father. Laura Gessler Rowe, sister of the bride, served as matron of honor. Flower girl was Sarah Grace Rowe, niece of the bride. The father of the groom served as best man. The ring bearer was Reese Hunt Kincaid, nephew of the groom. A rehearsal dinner for the couple was held at V Restaurant in Seagrove Beach, Fla. After a honeymoon trip to Maroma Beach in Riviera Maya Mexico, the couple live in Homewood.

34 • Thursday, March 21, 2013


Bumpus Student Earns Swimming Honors R. F. Bumpus seventh-grader Kenley McCombs is making a splash in swimming. McCombs, 12, began swimming when she was 8 years old and has been swimming competitively all four years. As a Birmingham Swim League member, McCombs was the anchor swimmer in 2011 and ranked first nationally among 11-year-olds in the medley relay. At the Southern Championship, she was in the top 12 in the 11 and 12-year-old division. She represents BSL at all national meets. This year as a seventh-grader, McCombs became eligible to swim competitively for Hoover High School. During a recent meet at Auburn University, she came in fifth in the relay and achieved a best personal record of 33 seconds in the 50-yard race. During the meet, she ranked first among all other seventh-graders who competed and came in first in the 100-yard freestyle. At an Auburn meet Jan. 19-21, McCombs won two events: the 100yard and 50-yard freestyle. She was also in the top 10 in all her events. In the Southeastern Meet in Nashville, McCombs has the opportunity to qualify for the top 10 in the


Crow Is Saddle Club’s All-Around Champ Anna Crow was named All Around Champion for 2012 by the Cahaba Saddle Club. The award is one of the two highest titles awarded by the club each year. Crow is an eighth-grader at Highlands School and a Cahaba Saddle Club member. She won the award by successfully showing her two horses, Lacey and Gizmo, in a number of different classes throughout the season. She also won several individual class championships. Crow received her award at the Cahaba Saddle Club’s annual banquet on Jan. 5. Kenley McCombs

nation in four of her seven events. McCombs said she loves swimming and said that it is a very different sport from most others because competitive swimmers must practice every day, even on the weekends. McCombs’ BSL coach is Suzanne Wrighton, an accomplished competitive swimmer. Wrighton and McCombs have been working together for the past two years. McCombs comes from a family of competitive athletes. Her mother coaches track and cross country for Hoover High School, her father coaches football and her younger brother wrestles. Her oldest brother, an all-around athlete in high school, attends Auburn University, where he is in the Marine ROTC. McCombs said she hopes to get a scholarship and swim for Auburn. Until then, she has her sights set on the 2016 Olympic trials.

Team members are from left, front: Ally Smith, Anna Towry and Carley Smith. Back: Coach Bill Smith, Rachel DeFore, Dyona Jones, Mary Alex Maluff, Emma Smith, Tate Halla and Head Coach Kathleen Smith. Photo special to The Journal

Vestavia 8U Girls’ Win State Championship

Vestavia’s 8U Girls’ All-Star Team defeated Huntsville Eastern in the championship game 30-10 to win the state tournament played in Gadsden March 9.

Anna Crow

Homewood Boys’ Win 6th Grade Tournament

The Homewood Patriots sixthgrade boys’ basketball team recently won the Over The Mountain Sixth-Grade Tournament. A of total 12 teams participated in the tournament. The Patriots also went undefeated in the Young Stars League composed of teams from the Birmingham, Midfield and Center Point areas. Team members are, standing, from left: Wesley Williams, Larkin WIlliams, Erik Schablow, Courtland Meeks, Ky Burdeshaw, Kentrell Martin and Chip Cunningham. Jack Dorough is kneeling. Photo special to The Journal

The Oak Mountain Eagles won the PHGBL tournament. From left, front: Emma Grace Phillips, Vica Hood and Anna Grace Gibbons. Second row: Mar Perez, Emma Grace Wolf, Bailee Walker and Anna Fleming. Back: Coaches Judd Fleming and John Phillips. Not pictured is Nora Ohlson. Photo special to The Journal

Eagles Take Top Honors at Tournament

The Oak Mountain Eagles select team won the PelhamHelena Girls’ Basketball League third and fourth-grade tournament championship. The Eagles defeated Cahaba Valley 10-4 to win the title. In the semifinals of the tournament, the Eagles beat Alabaster 20-10 and finished their season with an 11-1 record.

Blackjack Farms Riders Honored by Hunter Jumper Association Several riders from Blackjack Farms were honored at the Alabama Hunter Jumper Blackjack Farms riders attend the Alabama Hunter Jumper banquet. From left, front: Rebekah Sims, Lacy Smith, Audrye Roell and Kate Kirkland. Back: Sophie Vickers, Maggie Huffman, Ella Pigford, Ellen Blalock, Abigail Adams, Caroline Monaghan, Sarah Frances Jackson, Colledge Elliot, Mary Nelson Little and Ellen Walker. Photo special to The Journal

Association’s Year End Awards Banquet held recently at Birmingham Country Club. Mallory Michael was champion in the USEF Junior Working Hunter division. Caroline Monaghan was reserve champion in Children’s Pony Equitation and fifth in Children’s Pony Hunter. Lacy Smith was reserve champion in PreChildren/Adult Equitation, reserve champion in Pre-Children/Adult Hunter and fourth in the Schooling Hunter division. Mary Nelson Little placed sixth in the NonThoroughbred Hunter Division. The AHJA promotes competition with special emphasis on English riding, hunter seat, jumping, combined training and horsemanship. The competition year begins Dec. 1 and ends Nov. 30 of the following year.

with the boys.” In many ways, Mountain Brook From Back Cover blazed the trail in Alabama as far back as the early 1970s, when Spartan “The intense atmosphere that the fans coach John Jarmon started a girls’ created in our arena made it tough for track and field program. Since that our opponents, and it meant a lot to time, Mountain Brook girls’ track has our players.” become one of the most impressive Another key to Mountain Brook’s success is the coordinadynasties in all of high tion between the city’s school athletics. high school and junior Cooper said the high. other big change is the “We try to emphaimprovement of facilities. size the total program “The growth in the concept that starts with area of fields, gyms the seventh and eighth and ballparks has been grade coaches and works incredible,” he said. “Not all the way to the varjust at Mountain Brook, sity,” Cooper said. “Our but everywhere. You’ve coaches have bought got baseball fields that are better than what some into that mindset, and colleges have. You’ve got that’s been very imporartificial turf on football tant.” fields. Basketball gyms, Another aspect of soccer and softball fields, the Spartan program and track and field surthat catches the eye is faces are all better than the range of sports in Since the school opened its doors in the fall of 1966, Mountain which the school has Brook has won an incredible 149 Alabama High School Athletic they have ever been. “All of this speaks to excelled. While most Association state crowns. The Spartan boys basketball team with the schools most recent trophy. Journal photo by Marvin Gentry the importance that high would expect Mountain school athletics have Brook to do well in the reached in the communities.” traditional so-called “country club ‘There is no substitute As he nears his 60th birthday, sports” of swimming, golf and tennis, for their willingness to Cooper doesn’t plan to retire in the near championship hardware from football, Nor does he see the Spartan jugsoccer, track–and now basketball–fills work and their desire future. gernaut slowing down. the school trophy case. to achieve. They will “Almost all sports go through And for those who think of a cycles, but with the structure we have Mountain Brook championship in work as hard as their in place, we expect any down cycles to boys’ basketball as some sort of coaches ask them to in be very temporary,” he said. “We have anomaly, remember that the Spartans and years of a solid foundation on had put together a solid run of 20-win order to be successful.’ years which to build. I guess it goes back to seasons and regional tournament appearances before finally grabbing Terry Cooper Mountain when the school opened 47 years ago.” With tradition like that, don’t the brass ring in 2013. Brook High Athletic Cooper sees two big differences in expect Mountain Brook’s neon yellow Director high school athletics since taking over to start dimming anytime soon.



From Back Cover

edly took Hoover to the state championship finals and was named Over the Mountain Girl Athlete of the Year. Harper has taken her impressive credentials to Auburn University and has already become an impact pitcher in her opening campaign. Going into this weekend’s series against Georgia, she had compiled a 10-2 record with 62 strikeouts and a solid ERA of 2.25. Her biggest win may have come on March 9, when Harper pitched a six-strikeout, four-hit complete game as the Tigers edged fourth-ranked Florida 5-4. “I’m having a blast,” said Harper, when contacted last week while on the way back from a successful series of games in Tennessee. “Pitching at the college level has been more fun than I would have ever imagined.” And while she is modest about her fast start, Harper admitted she isn’t completely surprised by it. “I worked hard, so I expected to do well when I got here,” she said. “They wouldn’t have recruited me to come to Auburn if they didn’t think I could help them win.” Despite her early successes, Harper said the differences between college and high school softball are unmistakable. “The umpires have really shrunk the strike zone in college,” said

Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 35



the reins at Mountain Brook more than two decades ago–and the Spartan program was among the state’s leaders in both categories. “The first thing is the rise in importance of girls’ sports,” Cooper said. “Today there is just as much emphasis on girls’ athletics as there is

Harper, laughing. “Seriously, the batters are much more picky about what pitches they will swing at, and they are a lot more aggressive. It’s still the same game, but the overall talent level is much higher and the speed of the game is faster.” Leisure time is a rarity in a schedule full of schoolwork, softball, eating and sleeping. “Every day is kind of the same,” she said. “I get up around 7 and have an 8 o’clock class each morning. We have lunch around 12:50 and then practice from 2 to 5 p.m. Then it’s time for dinner, study hall and bedtime. You do it all again the next day. But you’re so busy that it all goes by very quickly.” She is considering physical therapy as her academic major. Harper entered her freshman year of college with high goals for herself and her team. “From a team standpoint, we want to win the SEC and go to the Softball College World Series,” she said. “Personally, I want to pitch my best every time I go out there and help my teammates win. Just like in high school, your teammates are like part of the family.” While the upset of highly-regarded Florida may have been Harper’s biggest win, her most impressive performance may have come a few days later. She struck out 10 batters

in a 6-1 win over Tennessee State on March 12. “I guess I had all my good strikeout pitches working that day,” she said, laughing. “My teammates like strikeouts. It makes things a little easier on them.” Making things easy for her teammates is nothing new for Harper. At Hoover, she was twice chosen as Pitcher of the Year in Alabama while rolling up a 65-21 record with an ERA of less than 1.00 in her final two seasons. Dangerous with the bat as well, Harper also clubbed 24 home runs during that period to lead the Lady Bucs. Those numbers drew the attention of college recruiters. Harper, a lifelong Tiger fan, chose to attend Auburn. At whatever level she plays, however, Harper’s biggest supporters come from her family: parents Sharon and Mac Harper and younger sister Courtney. The Harper clan is a fixture at all of Auburn’s home games. “My family is the most important thing in my life,” she said. “Any success I’ve had, I owe so much of it to them. Knowing that they all support me in anything I do means a lot.” Marcy Harper may be the new kid on the block in college, but she’s showing the same stuff on the mound that made her the talk of the high school campus.


From Back Cover

On Saturday, she scored 17 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to pace Alabama to a 64-54 win over Mississippi in the 23rd annual Alabama-Mississippi Girls All-Star Basketball Game on the campus of Alabama State University in Montgomery. Once again, Webb was named MVP. “This was really fun,” said Webb, who always seems to bring her sunny outlook on life to the basketball court. “It gave me a nice taste of what I’m going to get when I’m playing in the SEC next season.” Webb, who has a 3.48 GPA, will be playing at Vanderbilt University next season. Hoover coach Tiffany Frederick, who directed the Lady Bucs to the championship in her first year at the helm, may be Webb’s biggest fan. “Marqu’es has mastered the ability to be an intense competitor while maintaining a professionalism and maturity that is beyond her years,” Frederick said. “She encourages all of her teammates and is the first to help a fallen competitor up off the floor. Marqu’es leads her team with a big heart for both the game of basketball and her peers.” Webb also has a tendency to make winning contagious. She helped Brewbaker Tech win the state Class 4A championship in 2011 before transferring to Hoover to lead the Bucs to back-to-back Class 6A crowns. For all her accomplishments on the basketball court, Webb is even more impressive off it. In addition to her high grade point average,


From Back Cover

deficit to beat Briarwood, 3-2.” In 2009, Matte netted his 100th career goal along with fellow teammate and 2009 classmate Alex Kuklinski. In 2009, John Carroll became the first team nationally since 1977 and first soccer program in Alabama state history, to have a roster that included two players, Matte

Webb has worked as a volunteer with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. She also served as a counselor at a youth basketball camp. Webb said the keys to her years of success were simple. “The most important thing is to stay humble,” she said. “Always give the credit to God. It’s also important to work as hard as you can and never get cocky or complacent.” She said the ability to budget time came from her mother. “My mom gave me a good direction as how to prioritize the things that are most important,” Webb said. “Because of her, I’ve never had trouble finding the time to do the things that needed to be done.” Ironically, Webb considers a game her team lost to be the highlight of her glory-filled high school career. “In my freshman year at Brewbaker Tech, we lost in the regionals,” she said. “I’ll never forget how bad it felt to lose. I didn’t ever want to feel that way again. The memory of the disappointment of losing sparked me with the desire to win the championships that came later.” Webb is considering broadcasting as a possible college major, with the possibility of going into sportscasting one day. “That would be nice, but right now I want to work to be the best basketball player and student I can be,” she said. “Hoover has been great, but it’s going to be awesome to get to Vanderbilt and begin a new life.” Based on her past, there’s no telling how far Marqu’es Webb can go. and Kuklinski, to score 100 or more career goals. Matte is part of a large John Carroll family legacy. His mom, Marcie, was a 1978 graduate of the school. Matte graduated with his brother Justin in 2009. Another brother, Frank, was a 2007 graduate, and his sister, Adelaide, graduated from John Carroll in 2012. Two of Matte’s aunts and three cousins are also John Carroll graduates.



Convertible Tops Sunroofs Leather Interiors






Hoover’s Harper Off To Strong Start at Auburn




arcy Harper was always good at first impressions. As a high school freshman, she turned heads at Hoover, and she went on to become one of the most successful pitchers in Lady Bucs history. Before her career ended, Harper almost single-handSee HARPER, page 35

Marcy Harper has compiled a 10-2 record with 62 strikeouts and a solid ERA of 2.25. Photo courtesy Auburn University Athletics

 Bumpus Student Earns Swimming Honors P. 34

Vestavia’s 8U Girls’ All-Star Team Wins State P. 34 Crow Is Saddle Club’s All-Around Champ P. 34 Homewood Boys’ 12U Win District Title P. 34

Grand Finale Hoover’s Webb Ends Career on High Notes

Marqu’es Webb has seen a lot of glory in her high school basketball career. And Webb definitely saved the best for last, putting together a month of March she likely will never forget. Webb’s amazing run began at the first of the month, when the 6-1 center/forward scored 29 points and bagged 22 rebounds to lead Hoover to a 66-55 victory over Blount to give her Lady Bucs their second consecutive state 6A championship. She was named Most Valuable Player of the game. A few days later, Webb was named the 2013 Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year for Alabama. She was the first Hoover player to win the prestigious honor since Sidney Spencer took the prize Marquʼes Webb was named Most Valuable Player of the game at the 6A exactly a decade ago. state finals. Journal photo by Marvin Gentry Webb’s statistics for the season just ended reveals why she claimed the award: She averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds per contest and earned first team All-State honors for the second consecutive season. If that wasn’t enough, Webb had one more piece of basketball magic left in her arsenal before moving on to the college ranks. See WEBB page 35

John Carroll Graduate Is School’s First Pro Soccer Draft Selection Midwest third-team recognition and was Reed Matte, a defender for the UAB selected to the All-C-USA Second Team and Dragons and a 2009 graduate of John Carroll the C-USA All-Academic Team. Catholic High School, was drafted by the Matte, a four-year varsity letColumbus Crew in the first round ter winner and two-time state socof the 2013 Major League Soccer cer champion in 2008 and 2009 at Supplemental Draft Jan. 22 in ‘I’ve been John Carroll, is a member of St. New York City. playing soccer Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Matte was selected ninth overall and was the first of four former since I could where he was an altar server for nine years and a member of the Conference USA student-athletes walk at the youth group. He attended the parpicked in the supplemental draft. ish’s Catholic school from kinderHe is the 11th Blazer, the fifth age of 2.’ garten through eighth grade. in the last three years, and the REED MATTE “I’ve been playing soccer first Cavalier soccer player to be since I could walk at the age of drafted by the MLS. 2,” said Matte, MVP of the 2009 UAB Sports Information reported that the Birmingham native was one of state championship tournament. “My dad, Frank, played soccer at Indian Springs in high the driving forces of the Blazers’ back line. He school and then was a striker on the men’s socscored two goals in his senior campaign, which cer team at UAB. ended with UAB’s sixth appearance in the “Winning two state titles was a great accomNCAA Tournament in the past 14 years. The Blazers finished the season with a 10-8- plishment, especially back to back. Sharing it as a team was a great feeling. 2 record and a 4-4 mark in conference action. “In 2009 we had better control of the final Matte played in all 20 matches in 2012 and state game. In 2008 we had to come from a 2-1 also racked up three assists for a total of seven points. See MATTE, page 35 Individually, he earned NSCAA All-

Former Cavalier Reed Matte was drafted by the Columbus Crew in the first round of the 2013 Major League Soccer Supplemental Draft in January. Photo special to The Journal

Lee Davis

Approaching 150

Basketball Win Puts Spartans Near Milestone


ountain Brook’s stunningly easy 74-53 win over Sparkman earlier this month gave the Spartans their first-ever boys’ basketball title, but it certainly wasn’t the school’s first state championship. Since the school opened its doors in the fall of 1966, Mountain Brook has won an incredible 149 legitimate Alabama High School Athletic Association state crowns. If you’re keeping count at home, that’s an average of a little over three championships a year. And to think, the spring sports season–traditionally the Spartans’ strong suit–is just underway. Odds are, with track, golf and tennis (not to mention soccer, softball and baseball) yet to come, Mountain Brook almost certainly will reach the 150-championship milestone before this year’s seniors pick up their diplomas. “The kids we have here are the Number 1 ingredient in our success,” said Terry Cooper, a former Spartan boys’ basketball coach who has served as athletic director since 1992. “There is no substitute for their willingness to work and their desire to achieve. They will work as hard as their coaches ask them to in order to be successful. Quality coaches, parental support and first-rate facilities are essential parts of the equation as well. “As athletic director, I’ve really learned to appreciate the time and effort that all of our coaches put into what they do. And that applies to administrative staff as well. And just as importantly, the great support we get not only from the parents but the overall community as well,” Cooper said. There was perhaps no more tangible example of Mountain Brook’s broad support than the sight of entire sections of the BJCC filled with excited fans–not just students and parents– wearing the Spartans’ trademark neon yellow at the state basketball finals. “We were grateful for the community support during our entire (basketball) championship run,” Cooper said. See SPARTANS, page 35

March 21, 2013 Full Issue  

Full issue for March 21, 2013

March 21, 2013 Full Issue  

Full issue for March 21, 2013