OTMJ 1.26.23

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This year’s king of the Beaux Arts Krewe has had a variety of life experiences, from highlights in his real estate career to involvement in a host of civic and church activities. But one of the strongest influences on Henry Ray, now president and co-owner of Ray & Poynor Properties, occurred when he was just a teenager.

After a childhood in Sylacauga that Henry said was full of great memories, his parents, Lola Vann Pollard Ray and Henry Barnes Ray Sr., wanted him to expand his horizons by attending The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. That meant leaving home and the good friends he’d made while growing up.

RAY’S REIGN, page 9 205-595-4846 ww w. g uinservic e. co m GUIN II Air Conditioning • Plumbing • Generat or s SOCIAL Ray’s Reign Well-Known Real Estate Leader Is 56th Annual Beaux Arts Krewe Ball King
Journal photo by Jordan Wald Henry Ray, with wife Carolyn above, is president and co-owner of Ray & Poynor Properties.
Fourie wanted to return to his homeland to join the fight against Russia, even though he doesn’t have a right arm.
“I don’t know what I could have done with just one arm,” Fourie said, “but I was ready to go over and fight. It’s definitely heartbreaking watching my friends being bombed and struggling.”
HOPE NOW One-Armed Golfer From Hoover Taking Part in Efforts to Get Orphans Out of Ukraine
His friends in Ukraine persuaded him to remain in Alabama because he could do more for his countrymen from afar, especially orphans.
Alex Fourie is a level one PGA golf instructor and the No. 1 one-arm golfer in the United States, according to the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance. Courtesy Alex Fourie See HOPE, page 10



With everything that’s happening “Over the Mountain,” it can be difficult to keep up. That’s why we have launched the OTMJ newsletter. Published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - we’ll give you a quick recap of the latest news, sports and social events as well as a heads up on upcoming events so you won’t miss any of the interesting and fun happenings in the Greater Birmingham metro area.

To sign up for our newsletter, visit otmj.com. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @overthemountainjournal, for daily updates on what’s going on around town, too.


Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald

Copy Editor: Virginia Martin

Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writer: Anne Ruisi

Photographer: Jordan Wald

Sports Editor: Rubin E. Grant

Contributors: Susan Murphy, June Mathews, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls, Bryan Bunch

Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald, Gail Kidd

Murphy’s Law

Vol. 33, No. 12

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at editorial@otmj.com. E-mail our advertising department at mwald@otmj.com. Find us on the Web at otmj.com. Copyright 2022 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.

Talk Polygons To Me

Iwant to send out a big “thank you, thank you” to our local TV meteorologists. They’ve done a tremendous job lately helping us navigate sub-freezing temperatures, deluge-type rain, funnel clouds, straight line winds and all manner of weather craziness.

These guys are not just giving us their “Yep, looks like rain” opinion after a gander out the window, either. No, they have university degrees in meteorology after taking courses in radar intricacies like debris balls and hook echoes. They learned about jet streams and cold fronts and what paths a tropical storm/possible hurricane would most likely take. That’s a lot to master.

I don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that the final exam must involve standing in front of a blue screen and talking for five hours straight. And not about nothing, like filibustering senators. Not even like radio sports announcers who do a stream of consciousness feed of everything they’re seeing on the field. No, the meteorologists have to be ready at a moment’s notice to interpret and broadcast life-threatening situations that change with every sweep of the radar.

They do this in pairs, and for good reason. It’s an intense job, watching the screen, extending the polygons, correctly pronouncing the names of all the towns and roadways that are in the funnel cloud’s immediate path. As soon as the winds whip up, I picture them perched on a couch in the green room, doing last minute carbo-loading, waiting for the National Weather Service to make their pronouncement so they can spring into action.

One meteorologist will talk for 15 minutes or so and then the other one will tag in. Perhaps they have a corner person like a boxer, someone who pours some

Over the Mountain Views

Gatorade down their gullet, touches up their makeup and then shoves them back out in front of the camera for the next round.

The radar keeps spinning and the meteorologists keep talking. Sometimes, there is a lot to say in a hurry. At other times, the radar isn’t very active, but as long as there is a tornado warning anyplace in the viewing area, the meteorologists have to keep talking. They fill in with reminders about designating a safe place, a small room with no windows. (See, I was listening.) They remind you to bring your medications and a bicycle helmet if you have one. These are good things to hear, even if you’ve heard them many times before.

This polygon thing can go on for hours, which has to be exhausting, not to mention that lives depend on the meteorologists getting it right. They do all the requisite talking in calm and reassuring tones, making their viewers feel like they are in good hands. I appreciate that.

What I do not appreciate is the Johnny-Come-Lately group from the emergency something or another (See, I don’t listen.) who breaks in with a jarring foghorn sound effect that sends my dog Dave right through the roof. The voice is loud and robotic and s-l-o-w. and by the time their announcement is finished, the radar has spun several more times and the situation has changed completely.

But, thank goodness, our steadfast meteorologists keep going until, with an audible sigh of relief, the emergency is past and the station can return to regular programming. I don’t know what happens after that, but if anyone at the station had a lick of sense, they’d make sure there was chocolate cake back in the green room. And no one … no one … would be allowed to talk for at least an hour.

Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School students presented a Live Nativity and a Living Advent Wreath on Dec. 16 as part of a special holiday celebration.

Principal Mary Jane Dorn said this was the first time since COVID struck in 2020 that the traditional Advent/Christmas program had been presented in person.

“This live rendition of the birth of Jesus and the living Advent wreath help our school community remember the true meaning of the season,” she said.

Each grade represented biblical characters: the kindergartners as angels with halos; the first graders in masks to represent the animals that surrounded Jesus; the second graders as glowing stars; the third graders as more angels; the fourth grade girls as townspeople; the fourth grade boys as shepherds; the fifth grade girls as Mary; and the fifth grade boys as Joseph.

The sixth, seventh and eighth graders depicted more townspeople.

otmj.com O Holy Night OLS Students Portray Live Nativity and Living Advent Wreath
Sue Murphy
These guys are not just giving us their “Yep, looks like rain” opinion after a gander out the window ...
‘DO ANYTHING TO HELP’ Tamburello delighted to take part in Lettermen of the USA Gala
STATE OF THE CITY Homewood, Hoover mayors share achievements and goals with local chamber members
BREATHING (AND BAKING) ROOM Kitchen is at the heart of Edgewood home renovation
‘FEELS LIKE HOME’ Melt moves restaurant to Lane Parke PAGE 8

Thurs., Jan. 26

GirlSpring Winter Party

This fundraiser is for GirlSpring. com, the nonprofit online community created by girls for girls. Tommie G. Cummings, CPA, with Kassouf & Co., is the event’s honoree. When: 6 p.m. Where: Private home

Fri., Jan. 27

Samford String Quartet

The Samford University quartet will perform in the Live on the Plaza series. When: 12 p.m. Where: Hoover Library

Sat., Jan. 28

Homewood Salamander Festival

Friends of Shades Creek return with first non-virtual event since 2020. The event will feature activities, live music and refreshments. When: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Where: Homewood High School gym

ROAR James Bond Gala

Marilyn Mitchell Waggoner is the honoree at this year’s ROAR James Bond Gala fundraiser for cancer research at UAB. When: 6 p.m. Where: The Club

Sat., Jan. 28

Burns Night Celebration

Music, food and drink from Scotland (including haggis) and poetry readings will mark Burns Night at the O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook. The evening celebrates Scottish poet and novelist Robert Burns When: 6-8 p.m. Where: O’Neal Library.

Pepper Place Market

This Alabama certified farmer’s market is holding its first market of the year. The market is held every Saturday. When: 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Where: Pepper Place

Mon., Jan., 30

Vestavia City Schools Hall of Fame 2022

Vestavia Hills City Schools created its Hall of Fame in 2020 to celebrate former VHCS employees who played a critical role in the growth and legacy of the school system. Audrey Pharo, Kelly Bagby, Brian Cain, Karen DeLano and the late Kim McBride will be inducted into the school system’s Hall of Fame. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Louis Pizitz Middle School

Thurs., Feb. 2

Grief Recovery Program

Registration is open now for GriefShare, a 14-week program starting Feb. 2 to help people who’ve

lost a close family member. When: Thursdays from 7-8:45 p.m. Where: Faith Church, 4601 Valleydale Road.

Feb. 2-4

Lil’ Lambs Consignment Sale

Trinity United Methodist Church’s popular children’s consignment sale will provide gently worn children’s clothing and accessories, serving as a fundraiser for Trinity’s Children’s Ministry. Where: Trinity United

Methodist Church, Homewood When: Presale on Feb. 2 from 5-8 p.m., regular sale Feb. 3 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Feb. 4 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Feb. 3-19

Dreamgirls Red Mountain Theatre It’s a story infused with the spirit of Motown and the R&B legends of the ‘60s and ‘70s. When: Showtimes vary Where: Red Mountain Theatre

Jazz Cat Ball

Feb. 4

Every year, in conjunction with Mardi Gras, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society Auxiliary Board hosts the Jazz Cat Ball. The ball is one of the largest animal rescue fundraisers in the South, including a black-tie gala, seated dinner, live music by Revel Radio, casino, and huge online and live auctions. When: 6 p.m. Where: Sheraton Birmingham Hotel Ballroom

ArtBlink Gala

The 38th ArtBLINK gala is one of Birmingham’s unique social events, with dinner, dancing, and works from 20 artists who will create original art in 90 minutes that will be available for bids in a silent auction. The gala is the main fundraiser for the Advisory Board of the O’Neal

Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Kirklin Clinic

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 3 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN JAN 26 - FEB 9

Ben Tamburello has a soft spot in his heart for football players and military veterans.

So, when Lettermen of the USA founder and President Darryl Fuhrman contacted him about being the athletic honoree for its fourth annual One Yard at a Time Gala, Tamburello readily agreed.

“I never served in the military, but I am emphatic to veterans for the sacrifices they make and their families make for our country and our freedoms,” Tamburello said. “I’ll do anything to help them any way I can, so when Darryl asked me, I was glad to be associated with it.”

The military honoree for the gala is retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David P. Burford, deputy commander for mobilization and reserve affairs, United States Special Operations Command.

The gala will be held Feb. 3 at The Club. There will be dinner, music and silent and live auctions conducted by Jack Granger, of Granger, Thagard and Associates Inc.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet and celebrate with military heroes, former college and professional football players and coaches with the purpose of raising money to help veterans in need.

Lettermen of the USA is a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization made

Mon., Feb. 6

Friends of Hoover Public Library: State of the City Address

Hoover Mayor Frank V. Brocato will be giving his State of The City address.

Where: Hoover Public Library When: 9 a.m, with refreshments at 9:45 a.m. and the program beginning at 10 a.m.

up of former college athletes, as well as active and former coaches, who have teamed up to help serve honorably discharged veterans, wounded veterans and former college players in need with various programs.

The gala proceeds allow LotUSA to continue its essential programs: Autographs for Heroes; Homes for Heroes; Interiors for Heroes; Laptops

Thurs., Feb. 9

for Heroes; Utilities for Heroes; Wheels for Heroes; and Taking Care of Our Own.

Although Tamburello is not a veteran, his son Ben Tamburello III is. The younger Tamburello went to the U.S. Naval Academy and was in the Marines for five years.

“He was a big ugly like me, an offensive lineman like me,” the elder

Feb. 9 - 26

Tamburello said. “After he finished at the Naval Academy, he had a five-year commitment to the Navy or the Marines and he chose the Marines.”

From the Gridiron to the Housing Market

The elder Tamburello is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Southern Homes280, but he made a name for himself on the football field.

After starring at Shades Valley High School in the early 1980s, he went to Auburn University and was a four-year starter at center. In 1986 he was selected as a unanimous All-American and

Southeastern Conference Lineman of the Year and was voted the Tigers’ team captain.

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted him in the third round in 1987 and he played five years in the NFL, from 1987 to 1991. He was a 2010 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee and a 2022 SEC Legend recipient.

Tamburello has been contacting friends and former players to raise funds for the gala.

“Darryl does a bunch of good things for former college football players and veterans, so this is a great way for me to help,” Tamburello said. “It’s an honorable cause. I have reached out to guys I’ve played with and some others.”

Fuhrman, a former University of Alabama football player, founded Lettermen of the USA after the 2011 tornado devastated Tuscaloosa. Fuhrman helped organize a flag football Iron Bowl game between former Alabama and Auburn players that raised $150,000 for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.

“We have taken the many diverse skills of athletes and coaches and built a national platform,” Fuhrman said. “No organization is worth its salt that doesn’t help its own.”

Tickets or sponsorship packages for the gala can be purchased at lotusa.org. For more information call: 205-3947521.


Legacy League Scholarship Luncheon

Christian author Susan Alexander Yates will share life-shaping messages for all ages and stages of life. Proceeds will provide scholarships to students with financial need and challenging circumstances. When: 11:30 a.m. Where: Vestavia Hills Country Club

Escape to Margaritaville Musical comedy featuring Jimmy Buffet’s hit songs and a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia and Emmy nominee Mike O’Malley. A part-time bartender, part-time singer and full-time charmer thinks he’s got life all figured out until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything. When: Showtimes vary Where: Virginia Samford Theatre Sat., Feb. 11

show titled “Love, Magic and Music.” When: 2:30 p.m. Where: Thompson High School

Big Machine Day McWane Center

This event features some of the coolest machines around. From dump trucks to fire trucks, kids young and old will have the chance to climb aboard these incredible contraptions and explore all they have to offer. When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Where: McWane Center Plaza

Tues., Feb. 14

silent auction and a silent disco where guests can dance the night away. When: 8 p.m. Where: Haven in Birmingham’s Lakeview District

Sat. Feb. 25

Unless U Got Talent Fundraiser

The most entertaining night of the year as students from Unless U partner with local volunteers as they compete for the title of Unless U Got Talent Champions. Some of this year’s acts include a game show, body building, square dancing, and a gospel choir. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Lyric Theatre


Alabama Theatre Presents Casablanca

Dinner & Diamonds



Gras on the Mountain

Presented this year by Zyne Family Foundation, complete with a ninepiece live band and a New Orleansinspired buffet dinner, beer and wine, you will feel like you have stepped into Mardi Gras. Live auction hosted by Diamonds Direct, along with a silent auction. Each guest will receive a Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktail upon arrival. When: 6 p.m. – VIP Cocktail Hour for Sponsors, 7 p.m. – Doors open for the main event, Black tie optional Where: The Club

Sun., Feb. 12

Birmingham Boys Choir and Magician David Garrard

The choir and magician perform in a

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Alabama Theatre with a showing of “Casablanca.” Enjoy the movie with your date, and the theatre’s variety of special holiday drinks. Where: Alabama Theatre When: 7 p.m.

Feb. 17-18

Elvis People

South City Theatre presents dinner theater show “Elvis People,” a comedic play by Doug Grissom that explores the King’s impact on American culture. When: Buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Where: Homewood Library

Fri., Feb. 24

Glenwood Big Top Gala Glenwood Junior Board is hosting this event to support services for children with autism. Live music, a casino, a

This benefit for the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation will include dinner, entertainment, and silent and live auctions. When: 7-11 p.m. Where: Vestavia Country Club

Rotoract Black and White Foundation Ball

Known as the city’s premier young professional’s event, the Black & White Ball supports the Club’s Signature Service projects and serves as the most memorable night of the year. When: 6:30 p.m. Where: Birmingham Museum of Art

A Night at the Oscars

Save the date and join us for the gala event of the year, benefitting Mitchell’s Place. Dance the night away, raise your paddle to bid on unique auction items, and strike a pose on the red carpet. Pre-registration required by Feb. 10. When: 6-10 p.m. Where: Haven

4 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN
Park South Plaza 1425 Montgomery Hwy., Suite 111 Next to Diplomat Deli in Vestavia Hills Mon.-Fri. 10:00 - 5:00 • Sat. 10-3 • (205) 822-9173 Celebrate life's special occassions. BRACELETS About Town from page 3
Anything to Help’ Tamburello Delighted to Take Part in
of the USA Gala Courtesy The military honoree for the gala is retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David P. Burford, above. In 1986 Ben Tamburello was selected as a unanimous AllAmerican.

Let’s Talk Gardens

Ecological Landscape Designer Speaks at Gardens for Inaugural John A. Floyd Jr. Lecture

Thomas Rainer, a leading voice in ecological landscape design, will speak Jan. 31 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens during the Annual Member Celebration and Inaugural John A. Floyd Jr. Lecture.

The Birmingham native will talk about his landscape philosophy and how it applies to homeowners’ gardens and to the Kaul Wildflower Garden.

Rainer is a principal with Phyto Studio in Washington, D.C., and has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the New York Botanical Garden, according to a state ment by the Gardens. He has been fea tured in numerous publications, includ ing The New York Times, Landscape Architecture Magazine, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Architectural Digest.

His recent work focuses on incor porating wild plant communities into designed plantings that thrive in towns and cities.

Light refreshments will be served during the event, which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a book signing will follow the talk. Registration is required; visit bbgardens.org and click on the calendar link to find the event and registration form.

The inaugural Floyd lecture has been created by the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens to honor Dr. John Alex Floyd Jr. Floyd was a lifelong gardener, skilled horticulturist and longtime editor in chief of Southern Living whose commitment to the gardens during 1981-2021 made a lasting impact at the Gardens, according to the statement.

He was a driving force in creating the Southern Living Garden in 1981 and, while serving as board chair, oversaw the Gardens’ second master plan and the fundraising efforts that made it a reality.

Through his work with Southern Living, he was instrumental in positioning Birmingham as an epicenter of Southern gardening, style and hospitality, according to the statement. After retiring, he continued his community service, volunteering weekly in the Japanese Garden, helping shape the Gardens’ latest master plan and sharing his expertise and talents until his death in 2021.

Homewood Theatre will be presenting “The Hallelujah Girls,” a play from the team of Jones, Hope and Wooten who previously wrote for “The Golden Girls.”

Performances are Feb. 9-19, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

The play features a group of strong,

“Hallelujah Girls”

Comedy From “The Golden Girls” Writers to Be Presented at Homewood Theatre

Southern women who transform an old church into a day spa. When they start giving manicures and pedicures, everything that can go wrong does, according to a statement from the theater.

The performances will be at Homewood Theatre, in SoHo Square in downtown Homewood.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at homewoodtheatre.com.

“every home is unique because every client is unique.”

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 5 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN
patrick gilbert | 205.542.9940 | patrick @ wedgworth net LET US PLAN & BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME – the wedgworth team
Thomas Rainer Courtesy Courtesy

Brocato Outlines City’s Achievements and Goals

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato outlined the city’s achievements in 2022 and offered an outlook for 2023 at the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency – Wynfrey Hotel on Jan. 18.

“We will not rest on our laurels,” the mayor said. “We are planning and investing in the future to make sure we’re a great place to live for the next generation so that our kids and grandkids have economic opportunities and choose to continue to call Hoover home.”

The mayor’s lengthy address covered a wide range of developments in the city, which he described as an “economic engine for the region and the state” and which quickly is approaching 100,000 residents.

Public Safety

• The police department achieved national accreditation in 2022 and the fire department did so in 2021, fulfilling one of the mayor’s first goals when he took office in 2016, he said. Departments undergo an intense process to achieve accreditation, and Brocato said more city departments will begin the process of earning national accreditation in their fields.

• Hoover has bought property to replace the city’s first fire station, which is in an alley behind Green Valley Drugs, Brocato announced. He said the new, modern Fire Station 1 will be on U.S. 31 in front of the drug store.

• Among the vehicles purchased for the fire department fleet are two new ladder trucks that exhibit school pride. One truck is painted Spain Park High Blue and is stationed in Inverness at Fire Station 7. The other is painted

Hoover High Orange and will be stationed at Fire Station 11 next to the Hoover Met.

Quality of Life

As public safety is important to the viability of a city, so quality of life is important to the vitality of a city, Brocato said.

• The city continues to reinvest in current parks and, when opportunities arise, to buy new land to add to Hoover’s amenities, the mayor said. One such purchase he noted is the Old Concrete Plant on Old U.S. 31 on the Cahaba River. The city will work with a developer to create uses that capitalize on the enjoyment and responsible uses of the Cahaba River.

• The Hoover Met Complex is “really becoming a shining star in Alabama, the Southeast and the United States,” the mayor said. More than 82,000 people in the community used the Met’s recreational fields and courts and more than 375,000 participants and athletes visited the complex last year.

• The city’s investment in the Hoover Met keeps paying dividends. Total economic impact for fiscal year 2022 was more than $55 million and it generated almost 70,000 hotel room nights throughout the region. Those numbers are expected to go up as the city continues to host the SEC Baseball Championship and prepares to host the Move United sporting event in 2023 and 2024, the mayor said.

• This year, the city will complete the installation of pickle ball courts at Veterans Park, join with the school system on a $9 million project to add artificial turf to the city’s ball parks as well as the baseball and softball fields at Hoover’s two high schools, finish building out the Bluff Park Pavilion,

start renovations at Russet Woods Park and give the vestibule at the Hoover Senior Center a face lift that also will provide an extra layer of security for guests and employees.

• The first phase of Fleming Park will begin with 43 acres along the Cahaba River donated by Signature Homes. A pavilion, outdoor educational space and more amenities are included in the plan that will cover 130 acres.

• The Hoover Public Library is thriving, Brocato said, with programs and events that draw internationally acclaimed authors to the annual Southern Voices festival and Grammy Award-winning performers for concerts.

Economic Development Drivers

Brocato noted The Birmingham Business Journal just featured Hoover in a cover story calling the city the metro area’s next boomtown. He said there are good reasons for that recognition, among them:

• Hoover provides a predictable business climate and place where potential new businesses can attract


• The city’s Building Services Department issued more than 6,000 permits last year with the value of work almost $600 million. The number of new home permits issued was 317, and the value of those homes was more than $195 million.

• The city is working with the Commercial Development Authority and the Industrial Development Board to position the U.S. 280 corridor as a technology hub. It also is working to develop an Innovation District Mixed Use Redevelopment Strategy for the area, the mayor said.

• The Downtown Redevelopment Authority is working to establish architectural guidelines to create a more cohesive look for Hoover’s central business district. Brocato said part of that district is what the city imagines to be a downtown Hoover. City officials are “working with the Patton Creek ownership to create just that” and are in final discussions with owners to create a town square atmosphere, complete with a new Center for the Arts, the mayor said.

• Brocato noted Riverchase continues to see growth in the life sciences

McClusky Touts Charm, Neighborhoods, Businesses

Homewood Mayor Patrick McClusky painted an attractive portrait as he delivered his annual State of the City address at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Homewood Chamber of Commerce at The Club.

“Homewood defines itself as a beautiful mixture of charming neighborhoods, an unmatched community presence, incredible walkability and a tapestry of the most amazing businesses that any other 8-square-mile area would be happy to have,” he said. “Our businesses help us make us

who we are and we’re lucky to have so many others just waiting in the wings to come into Homewood.”

Those businesses generally did well in 2022 as the city brought in $1.8 million in sales taxes, an increase of 7% from the previous year.

“If you talk to Robert Burgett, who is the director of our finance department, he will tell you that every year he expects the sales tax (revenue) to eventually go down. It just doesn’t happen,” the mayor said. “People shop here. People love being in Homewood.”

sector. Bio Horizons, one of the largest suppliers of dental implants in the world, recently expanded, as did the National Computer Forensics Institute in the city. The institute is the nation’s premier law enforcement training center on cyber and electronic crimes. This year it will begin a multi-year, $23 million expansion that will let the center increase student population from 4,500 to 10,000 a year, Brocato said. The institute’s annual economic impact is about $6.4 million.

Retail Business

• Retail is alive and well in Hoover, Brocato said, pointing to the more than 1,000 new business licenses issued last year.

• In fall 2022, ground was broken on the Village Green at Stadium Trace Village Amphitheater.

• Riverchase Galleria continues to attract millions each year, Brocato said. New businesses have opened in and around the Galleria and there is a 126-room hotel under construction. Belk’s and Sears are both in the final stages of leasing space.

Financial Climate, Schools, Civitan

“I am happy to say the city of Hoover is in a very strong financial position currently – actually, the strongest financial position we’ve ever been in our history,” Brocato said.

Because 2021 was an “exceptional fiscal year,” the city invested an additional $30 million to significantly increase interest revenue, he said.

Brocato also lauded Hoover’s school system, which last year received an “A” rating for all 16 schools and continues to attract young families. Only six school systems in Alabama achieved that rating.

New businesses and organizations continue to come into Hoover, Brocato said, such as Civitan International, which has 30,000 members worldwide and has moved its headquarters to the Meadow Brook Business Park.

Homewood finished fiscal 202122 with an estimated surplus of just more than $400,000 in the general fund. The surplus was amassed without having to access any reserves, including the Economic Uncertainty Fund, he said.

The mayor pointed out several details from the city’s finances. Among them:

• Property taxes decreased by $200,000, or 3% percent, from the previous year.

• The city brought in $61,000 in business licenses, which was an increase of 15% over the previous year.

• The lodging tax of $930,000 reflected an increase of 30% over the previous year. He attributed this to the addition of the new Valley Hotel and the increase in visitors from COVID

6 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL NEWS
Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato at the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency – Wynfrey Hotel on Jan. 18. Journal photo by Jordan Wald STATE OF THE CITY | HOMEWOOD Mayor Patrick McClusky chats prior to delivering his State of the City address at the Jan. 17 meeting of the Homewood Chamber of Commerce at The Club.
See RAY’S HOMEWOOD, page 7
Journal photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

recovery and the World Games.

• Building permits decreased by $46,000, or 4%, from the previous year. The mayor said local builders report that renovations have been more popular than tear-downs.

McClusky cited several items that were on the horizon when he gave his State of the City address last year.

“Most of those, if not all of them, are either completed or are currently in the final phase of work,” he said. “Our stormwater master plan is done and we’re already beginning to work on remedying some of the more immediate attention sites.”

The mayor said the city has begun a study on establishing a city manager. He recounted the December chamber meeting in which attendees heard from city management experts on the subject.

“I look forward to the day Homewood can share in the benefits of professional city management, giving elected officials the ability to focus on strategic growth and future planning,” he said.

Once again, Homewood gave bonuses to all city employees “along with the largest COLA (cost of living adjustment) that we’ve seen in the last decade,” McClusky said. “We hope to continue on that path and we all want to take care of our Homewood employees as best we can.”

Addressing an issue that can be seen across the metro area, Homewood began a partnership with Lifeguard to provide EMS service care to its citizens.

“This Homewood-designated contract for EMS is something that we have never had,” the mayor said. “The safety and care of our citizens is of the utmost importance. Along with the fire department and the police department, who do fantastic jobs, this step was taken to ensure that our residents don’t call 911 and have to worry about how long it’s going to take for an ambulance to arrive.”

Speaking of police, McClusky said the city experienced an 11% decrease in overall crime based on a 10-year average. Specifically:

• Burglaries and robberies were down 25% and 32%, respectively.

• Vehicle thefts were up 27%.

• Sex crimes are down 31%.

• Homicides, while still very low, are up this year with the CVS and Wells Fargo incidents (Two men were killed at those locations in separate incidents).

All told, Homewood Police Department answered 38,500 calls for service during 2022. Those calls included 8,266 traffic stops, 7,067 citations/tickets issued and 2,479 arrests made in 2022.

Officers and detectives seized more than 30 pounds of drugs, nearly 200 firearms and more than $20,000 in cash related to crimes.

McClusky said a project that prompts the most questions is the

future of the Brookwood Mall property. He said the property and project are unique because there are multiple owners and multiple municipalities involved.

which time we will afford the property owners the ability to present to the public their proposed development.”

Homewood City Schools was named the No. 1 best school district in the Birmingham area and the No. 1 district with the best teachers in Alabama for 2023 by Niche. The school system was named one of only three districts in Alabama to have more than 20% of its teachers achieving National Board Certification, currently employing 45 national board certified teachers and 23 teachers pursuing the designation.

Homewood City Schools was named best community for music education for the past 16 years by the National Association of Music Merchants. There are 489 students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses in the 2022-23 school year, which is a record year.

in median home values in Homewood over the last year alone,” the mayor said. “It’s just amazing.”

McClusky said 390 homes were sold in 2022 in Homewood compared to 495 in 2021. That 21% decrease is partly due to a lot of people renovating after choosing to remain in the city. He said the average sale price in 2022 was $531,000 as compared to $470,002 in 2021.

“The median days on market were three,” he said. “Three days, and I’m not sure if that even counts the ones that were sold before the real estate market even knows that they’re coming on the market. It’s amazing. And 155 of those homes were under contract within 48 hours as compared to 215 the previous year, so a 28% decrease.”

“This is not only from a citizenuse perspective … as well as a revenue perspective,” the mayor said. “Since the property lies in the boundaries of not only Homewood but also Mountain Brook and Jefferson County, we continue to be engaged with each other so that we know that we’re all on the same page when describing what it is our constituents want and don’t want from that property. We hope to receive some updates in the coming months, at

The mayor said Homewood High School is ranked as one of the top 5 best high schools in Alabama by U.S. News and World Report. The high school has 10 seniors who received National honors this year, including three students who were selected for the College Board National African American Recognition Program

Strong Housing Market

According to information from the Birmingham Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, the median estimated home value in Homewood is $538,000.

“We have seen a 12.5% increase

The mayor said local Realtors cite the same reasons for people choosing to live in Homewood. It starts with the city’s location and proximity to downtown Birmingham. But there’s more.

“It’s the charm and character of our home supply,” he said. “It’s our award-winning school system. It’s our family-centric and tight-knit community atmosphere and our wellkept parks and recreation areas and our above average walking score.

“The things that we deemed important over the last decade –sidewalks, schools, parks, all that –we’ve taken a vested interest and put our money and our backing behind those things,” McClusky said. “And it’s coming to fruition now.”

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 7 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL NEWS jmancuso@abc-seniors.com | AlwaysBestCare.com/AL/Birmingham | 6 Office Park Circle, Suite 315 | Birmingham IN-HOME CARE • bathing • grooming • housekeeping • meal preparation • incontinence care • medical reminders • transportation • skilled nursing services + FREE • routine RN health and wellness visits • routine supervisory visits • regular balance testing Let Us Take Care of Your Loved Ones Call Our Client Team Today (205) 874-9730! HOMEWOOD From page 6
the property (Brookwood Mall) lies in the boundaries of not only Homewood but also Mountain Brook and Jefferson County, we continue
be engaged
with each other
know that
all on the same page ... We hope to receive some updates in the coming months.’

‘Feels Like Home’

It’s taken months to plan and make the move to Mountain Brook, but Melt restaurant is drawing loyal customers from its original Avondale location and new fans since it opened Jan. 12 in Lane Parke.

“We’re so excited to see our loyal customer base, our friends and families, we’re excited to meet new people,” said Paget Pizitz Taylor, who coowns Melt with Harriet Despinakis. “We have a couple of people that come in here every day. People say it feels like home.”

The restaurant is at 1011 Jemison Lane in the heart of the commercial development. While the location is new, the menu is substantially the same, Taylor said, although the restaurant expanded its bar menu.

“We wanted to stay true to who we are, and a lot of people asked us if we were going to change the menu, but people know us as Melt. We wanted to stay true to our roots,” Taylor said.

Melt, sometimes called the “grilled cheese restaurant,” is described on the restaurant’s website as “a modern twist on classic comfort food.”

Besides grilled cheese sandwiches, Melt offers an array of sandwiches, salads, soups, appetizers and mac and cheese.

It’s all served in a fun atmosphere with kitschy metal lunchboxes holding napkins as the centerpiece on each table. The family-friendly restaurant draws customers of all ages, with board games and coloring to occupy the young ones while their parents relax and enjoy a drink before their

Avondale restaurant in operation, but staffing two restaurants was a challenge, Despinakis said. So, they offered the Avondale staff the opportunity to work at the new location, and every employee came with them to Mountain Brook after the original restaurant closed Dec. 23.

Flexibility Is Key to Success

Melt’s owners were initially invited to move to Lane Parke in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the timing wasn’t right, Despinakis said. About a year later, it was.

During the pandemic, they made changes necessitated as people stayed home more than they went out, like setting a separate area for takeout orders.

“Before COVID, we never would have done that. COVID taught us to be more fluid,” Taylor said.


The new location gets more foot traffic than the Avondale location did, and this spring when the weather warms, the restaurant will add outdoor seating.

When they were planning to open the Lane Parke location, Taylor and Despinakis hoped to keep the

They brought that takeout concept to the new location and have a complete area for carryout, Despinakis said.

“Now it’s almost like a separate business,” Taylor said.

Melt got its start in 2012 when Taylor and Despinakis, Mountain Brook natives whose families knew each other for years, got to know each other working on a gala for the Juvenile Diabetes Research


They realized they had the same work ethic and were interested in going into business together. After brainstorming ideas, they decided to buy a food truck “because we saw on the horizon the popularity of the food truck,” Taylor said.

Their food truck came from Miami and their offerings were simple at the time, with six sandwiches and a side on the menu, Taylor said. In June 2014, they opened the brick-and-mor-

Vestavia Hills Chamber Names Businesses of the Year

The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce has announced Rocky Ridge Drug Co. and Summit Smiles Pediatric Dentistry as winners of its Business of the Year awards for 2022, according to a chamber press release.

The chamber honored Rocky Ridge Drug Co. with the Business of the Year Award–Retail.

Homewood Chamber Recognizes Businesses That Serve the Community

Four businesses were honored by the Homewood Chamber of Commerce as 2022 Business Award Winners during the organization’s annual luncheon at The Club on Dec. 13.

Shaia’s was honored as Business of the Year. The award is given to a Homewood Chamber member that has provided significant service to the Homewood community and the chamber at large and has been in business for more than two years.

The family-owned, fine men’s clothing store is a Homewood institution and celebrated its centennial last year.

Meals by Misty received the Rising Star Award, which is given to a Homewood Chamber member that

has provided significant service to the community and the chamber at large and has been in existence for less than two years.

Bandwagon Sports and The Valley Hotel received Community Patriot Awards, which are given to Homewood Chamber members that have provided above-and-beyond service to the Homewood community and its nonprofits.

The event drew close to 160 participants and included a discussion panel featuring Homewood City Council President Alex Wyatt, Mountain Brook City Manager Sam Gaston and Vestavia Hills City Manager Jeff Downes.

Pharmacist Keri Bates, owner of the business, has been an involved member of the community and chamber since the business opened in 2017. The business has participated in community events and has supported Vestavia Hills City Schools.

“The chamber is very appreciative of all that Keri Bates and her team at Rocky Ridge Drug Company have done for the Vestavia Hills community,” the press release stated.

Summit Smiles Pediatric Dentistry was honored with the Business of the Year Award–Service. Dr. Sean Gunnels and his wife, Kristen Gunnels, have been involved in the Vestavia Hills community since opening the practice in 2020.

They have participated in numerous community and school events and frequently volunteered to help with projects in Cahaba Heights.

“The chamber is so proud and appreciates the involvement of the Gunnels and the Summit Smiles in our community,” the press release stated.

Summit Smiles Pediatric Dentistry Dr. Sean Gunnels and his wife, Kristen Gunnels .

tar restaurant in Avondale.

Despinakis and Taylor said they’ve made mistakes along the way but learned from those experiences. That, a strong desire to succeed and the strong work ethic inherited from their families, who immigrated to America to make a better life, contributed strongly to their achievements at Melt.

“I think how we’ve faced those challenges brings us closer together,” Taylor said.

Zoes Kitchen Reopening in Crestline Village

Plans are being made to reopen Zoes Kitchen at its old Crestline Village location in Mountain Brook with its old menu, according to reports on social media.

John Cassimus, whose parents, Zoe and Marcus Cassimus, opened their first restaurant in 1995 and who expanded it into a chain, issued a video statement on Facebook saying the popular eatery is coming back.

“Recently, our good friends at Cava bought Zoes Kitchen. After converting some of the stores over to Cava, the decision was made to shelf the Zoes Kitchen brand moving forward. But great news. They’ve given me and my mom and dad the opportunity to resurrect the original Zoes Kitchen brand here in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Crestline location, to all those fresh tasty and healthy, unique menu items you love so much,” John Cassimus said in the video.

An opening date hasn’t been set. Cassimus said more information will be released via social media.

8 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL NEWS
Chamber Melt Moves Restaurant to Lane Parke The family-friendly restaurant draws customers of all ages, with board games and coloring to occupy the young ones while their parents relax and enjoy a drink before their meal.
Melt got its start in 2012 when Taylor and Despinakis, Mountain Brook natives whose families knew each other for years, got to know each other working on a gala for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Journal photo by Jordan Wald Shaia’s was honored as Business of the Year. From left, Will O’Donnell Homewood Chamber president; Leo Shaia and Ken Shaia, Shaia’s owners; and Meredith Drennen, Homewood chamber executive director Rocky Ridge Drug Co. owner pharmacist Keiri Bates, center, with from left Sandra Cleveland, Vestavia chamber chair and Michelle Hawkins, Vestavia chamber president/CEO. Vestavia Hills Chamber John Cassimus

“After graduating, I realized what a big impact that had on my life,” Henry said. “I was involved in debate, where I learned communication skills and how to act and speak in public. I played football and basketball. I wasn’t a star, but sports did teach me the value of being a team member. The whole experience taught me independence and made my circle bigger.”

After high school, Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Alabama and then went on to attend Cumberland School of Law. But he left Cumberland with more than a juris doctor degree. While still a student there, he met his future wife, Birmingham native Carolyn Smith McDavid.

Military service in the U.S. Army followed law school. After stints at Ft. Polk in Louisiana and Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, Henry entered Officer Training School at Ft. Benning in Georgia, where he graduated as a second lieutenant. After he and Carolyn married in 1970, they immediately moved to Ft. Knox in Kentucky; Henry entered the Army’s

of Realtors. He was vice president of that group and is a member of its board of directors. He also received one of the national organization’s most prestigious honors – its Distinguished Service Award.

The Rays are dedicated to church and civic activities. They’re longtime members of Independent Presbyterian

married to Margaret Seibels Ray and who will be one of the king’s dukes. Granddaughters Margaret Leary Ray and Laurie Price Ray are among the train bearers for their grandfather –whom they call “Doo Dah.”

Other dukes are John Fletcher Abele Jr., Arthur Phillip Cook Jr., Carey Parks Gilbert II, Dr. Leland Hull Jr., Thomas Atkinson Roberts, James Whitfield Waitzman Jr. and Guy Allen Weatherford Jr.

Serving with Webster as guardians will be Christopher Grant Abele and John Allen Roberts.


Armor School there and graduated as a first lieutenant.

The next stop for the couple was Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, for Henry to be deployed to Vietnam. But he was tapped for the Army’s JAG Corps and remained at Ft. Campbell for the rest of his tour.

After three years of service to his country, Henry and Carolyn moved to Birmingham. Henry said he was torn between law and his love of real estate. But Carolyn had some encouraging words for her young husband.

“I told him, ‘Whatever you do, I know you’ll do it well,’” she said.

Henry’s first job in Birmingham was working for the Rudulph Real Estate Co.

“The Rudulphs had a significant impact on my real estate career,” he said.

Early on, Henry got involved with real estate boards. He was president of both the Birmingham and Alabama associations of Realtors and was named Realtor of the Year by both organizations. That led to his participation with the National Association

Church, where he is a deacon and a member of the session, which is a governmental body of the church. Carolyn also is a deacon and a member of the church’s guild.

Among the many organizations in which Henry has an active role are the UAB School of Nursing advisory board, the Parkinson Association of Alabama, Magic Moments, the St. Vincent’s Foundation board and the Downtown Rotary Club. He also has

Along with granddaughters Leary and Price, the children tapped as train bearers are Sally Frances Blair, Annie James Clay, Laura Thomas Clay, Katherine Estes Vaughn, Catherine Sullins Whatley, Charles Sheppard Caldwell Whatley and James Vann Worthen Jr.

Aladdin Is the Ball Theme

The ball, long one of Birmingham’s most anticipated social events, is set for Feb. 17 at Boutwell Auditorium. This year’s theme is a magical one: Aladdin.

Thirty-two young women will be presented at the ball. One will be crowned queen; her identity is always a secret until the big night – and three others will be ladies in waiting. Henry has been a member of the Beaux Arts Krewe for about 25 years. He’s proud that the Krewe is a supporter of the Birmingham Museum of Art.

“It’s helped me realize the importance and significance of our museum,” Henry said. “How special it is that year after year, our museum is one of the finest in the country. Its history, collections and leadership are unequaled.”

a special interest in the Birmingham Historical Society.

“I like to know the history of the houses we sell,” he said. “The people who buy these houses want to know, also.”

Besides looking at real estate, Henry in his downtime enjoys the peace and quiet of Lake Martin, bird hunting at Five Star Preserve and traveling. He is a member of the Country Club of Birmingham, Mountain Brook Club and Willow Point Golf and Country Club on Lake Martin.

He recently faced a taxing time when the Ray & Poynor building in Mountain Brook Village burned in the early hours of Nov. 16. He said he’s grateful no one was hurt and humbled by the “incredible support” he’s had from his community.

“And speaking of support, our fire department is the finest and unbelievably caring,” Henry said.

Henry and Carolyn have two sons: Webster McDavid Ray, who will be a guardian for the king’s box at the ball, and Henry Barnes Ray III, who is

Henry learned he’d been chosen as king from his friend George Wheelock.

“George asked to meet me at my office, and I thought he was looking for some real estate advice,” Henry said, laughing. “Little did I know; he gave me a letter from the Beaux Arts Krewe asking me to be king.”

Henry said he appreciates the hard work of his fellow Krewe members, including former kings, and their wives.

“They work so diligently every year to make the Krewe Ball successful,” he said, adding that Elon Allen, the Krewe’s corresponding secretary, is the “glue to the ultimate success of the ball.”

Carolyn is looking forward to the event and her husband’s role in it.

“He was just overwhelmed to be chosen,” she said.

Those who know Henry won’t be surprised at his philosophy for living, saying it’s all about “faith, family and friends.”

“Make others comfortable before you are comfortable,” he said.

Feeling stuck and ready to make a change?

Counseling can help.

Sometimes we can feel stuck, frustrated, or overwhelmed by our current circumstances. These feelings can grow over a period of time until they reach a tipping point, or sometimes they can seemingly come on all of a sudden. When we find ourselves in these situations, counseling can help us to make sense of what we are experiencing, to define the direction we would like to move in, and to connect (or reconnect) with what we value most and what makes life most meaningful to us. Counseling can help us during difficult times to regain a sense wellbeing and to learn new ways of managing the challenges and stressors of life. If you or someone you know is feeling stuck and would like to speak with someone, I hope you will consider reaching out. I would love to help.

Tommy Wald, MA, ALC

Under supervision of Jay LLoyd, MA, LPC-S

Email: twald@apollocounseling.org Visit: apollocounseling.org/tommy-wald

Call: 205-259-6784

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 9 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL PEOPLE
Your ‘Valentines Day Six-Pack’ On-Line at cookiefix.com
Homewood • Cahaba Heights • Huntsville
Page One
Those who know Henry won’t be surprised at his philosophy for living, saying it’s all about ‘faith, family and friends.’
Henry Ray, far right, has been a member of the Beaux Arts Krewe for about 25 years. He’s proud that the Krewe is a supporter of the Birmingham Museum of Art. Pictured with Henry at last year’s ball from left: Jesse Vogtle, Gerald Gillespy, and Philip Cook. Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

From Page One

Fourie already was supporting charity for orphanages called Hope Now in the Cherkassy Region of central Ukraine. So, he decided to stay home in Hoover and sell T-shirts through his charity, Single Hand Golf, with 100% of the proceeds going to Hope Now.

“My buddy told me I had a platform and to use it,” Fourie said. “I’ve been more effective doing that. We’ve sold T-shirts and had fundraisers. We have raised almost $60,000 and moved 350 orphans out of Ukraine. It’s been a privilege for me to be able to help.”

Fourie was born in 1992 in the Cherkassy Region with only a left arm as well as a cleft lip and palate due to the damaging effects of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The radiation seeped into the rivers near Fourie’s hometown of Zvenyhorodka, affecting his birth mom.

As a result, Fourie, 29, has undergone 26 surgeries in his lifetime.

“I’ve had surgeries to my nose, face and cleft lip,” he said. “I had my last one in November, so I’m done with surgeries for now.

“My one arm is an exception. I had to figure out a way to live with it.”

Fourie, a recently divorced father of a 2-year daughter, Lila, never knew his biological parents. They gave up custody of him at the hospital immediately after his birth. He spent the early years of his life in orphanages, including Hope Now.

At the age of 7, he was adopted by the Rev. Anton Fourie and his wife, Elizabeth, who were South African missionaries serving in Alabama. At the time of his adoption, in 1999, Fourie weighed only 35 pounds and ate soup for nearly every meal.

After arriving in his new country, in an effort to gain some weight quickly, Fourie said he devoured three quarter-pounders at McDonald’s for his first American meal.

A Lasting Love Affair

During his first week in Alabama, Anton Fourie put a golf club in Fourie’s hand and that eventually changed his life.

While growing up, he played a variety of sports, including tennis, soccer,

and football, as the kicker, at Shades Mountain Christian High School. But golf became the game he loved.

“It’s the closest thing to real life I


Vestavia Hills author Mary Anne Freeman has published a picture book about her long-haired dachshund Oliver, who spent 10 of his 15 years in a wheelchair.

“Let’s Roll, Oliver!” is written for 4- to 8-year-olds, but Freeman said in a statement, “It can help teach us that we’re all special, that we can show kindness and respect to all people –

and animals.”

“Oliver never imagined having a doggie wheelchair. There was a lot to learn about his new way of getting around. He was very patient as his people adapted. He taught his people a wheelchair wouldn’t slow him down from enjoying life,” she wrote.

Freeman said Oliver’s story inspired his people, and it could warm

can think of,” Fourie said. “You can have bad breaks and good shots and good breaks and bad shots, and you have to be able to control how you deal

with them just like you do in life.”

Fourie has become an accomplished golfer. He played in the No. 2 spot at Shades Mountain as a senior and even-

tually became a club pro in Knoxville, Tennessee, before moving back to Alabama late last year as an honorary member at Woodward Golf & Country Club in Bessemer.

He is a level one PGA golf instructor and the No. 1 one-arm golfer in the

a readers’ heart.

The book is available in hardcover and softcover at Book Nook by Rocky Heights.

Freeman graduated from the University of Montevallo. She and her husband, Mike, are supporters of the arts in Birmingham, especially educational endeavors.

For more information, and to hear “Oliver’s Song,” go to maryannefreeman.com.

United States, according to the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance. He also is level one certified for the Titleist Performance Institute and associate member of the Titleist Performance Institute.

Three years ago, he started competing in North America One-Arm Golfers Association and USGA tournaments. Last year, he finished as runner-up at the 2021 Georgia State Golf Association Adaptive Open, and last July he competed in the USGA’s inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina.

This weekend he will compete in the NAOAGA Winter Regional at The Club at River Wilderness in Parrish, Florida, near Tampa.

“I’m trying to pick up a couple of sponsorships during the NAOAGA Winter Regional,” Fourie said.

Although he still has his day job of selling roofs for Lightspeed Construction, Fourie’s passion and mission is to inspire and teach kids with adaptive needs to love, learn and grow in golf. He said providing that opportunity through adaptive clinics promotes competition, recreation and physical and emotional rehabilitation.

The mottos on his website are “One arm, zero handicap” and “Singlehandedly growing the game.”

“My whole goal is to grow disabled golf,” Fourie said.

For more info about Fourie’s charity, visit singlehandgolf.com.

10 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Although he still has his day job of selling roofs for Lightspeed Construction, Fourie’s passion and mission is to inspire and teach kids with adaptive needs to love, learn and grow in golf. Above left, Fourie with his 2-year daughter, Lila. Above right, Fourie models T-shirts sold through his charity, Single Hand Golf, that has raised almost $60,000 and moved 350 orphans out of Ukraine.
Fourie was born in 1992 in the Cherkassy Region with only a left arm as well as a cleft lip and palate due to the damaging effects of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
Author Publishes Children’s Book About Oliver, the Wheelchair-Bound Dachsund
Mary Anne Freeman’s book about her long-haired dachshund was illustrated by Memory Smith.

Artist and author Steve Skipper wasn’t planning to do a book about the integration of the University of Alabama football team.

But while doing research for a commemorative painting honoring John Mitchell and Wilbur Jackson, the first two black players for the Crimson Tide, it turned into more than just a piece of art. It became a book, titled “9780 Paul Bryant Drive: The

“It started out with me doing a commemorative painting for the Bryant Museum, celebrating the integration of football at Alabama,” said Skipper, who grew up in the Rosedale community and played football at Homewood High School. “You hear a lot of talking about it and mostly it’s just myths behind it, like it happened after the game against USC (in 1970).”

USC started an all-black backfield, featuring Sam “Bam” Cunningham, who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Trojans to a 42-21 season-opening victory against the Tide at Legion Field.

Cunningham and the Trojans were inaccurately credited with persuading Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to integrate his team. But Jackson, a halfback, had already signed with the Tide. Since freshmen were ineligible under NCAA rules to play for the varsity at the time, Jackson watched the game from the student section.

team weren’t true,” Skipper said. “I decided to tell the story and tell it accurately and it snowballed into a book.”

Integration of the Football Team at the University of Alabama.”

In describing the recently released book, Skipper said, “It is a compelling and epic story and account by players, coaches and administrators who witnessed and were affected by the culture-changing integration of the Alabama football team.”

The next season, Jackson and Mitchell, a defensive end and junior college transfer, became the first black players in Alabama football history and helped the Tide open the 1971 season with a 17-10 victory against USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Some of the things said about the integration of the Alabama football

The book includes accounts by players who were affected by integration, such as 1980s Alabama star linebacker Cornelius Bennett. Skipper also includes the role played by former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who once famously said in a speech, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

“Gov. Wallace deserves credit for how he changed his mind and his life,” Skipper said. “I focus on the change because he repented and admitted he

was wrong. I experienced the grace of God in my life so I can’t deny God doing the same thing with him.”

Skipper also pays tribute to Jackson and Mitchell.

“I thank God for these two men, as every player that came to the University of Alabama with and after them, black and white, needs to look back and say thank you because the great legacy of Alabama football was richly enhanced by them and their footprints are still all over the Capstone and forever will be,” Skipper said.

The coffee table-style book with a full-color jacket was published by

Skipper’s Anointed Homes Art LLC. It is available online at steveskipperstudio.com in a standard edition for $69 and a limited edition for $170 individually signed by Skipper, Mitchell and Jackson. Pricing includes shipping within the continental United States.

Skipper’s commemorative painting called “9780 Paul Bryant Drive” was unveiled last year at the Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa and at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham.

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 11 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE
SPRING 2023 RECREATIONAL SOCCER WWW.VESTAVIASOCCER.COM REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! SPOTS ARE LIMITED! REGISTER TODAY! TAKE YOUR FUN FACTOR TO THE NEXT LEVEL! GREAT LOCATIONS CLOSE TO HWY 280 & 31 LIBERTY PARK & HIGHWAY 31 IN VESTAVIA AGES 3-19 BOYS & GIRLS The Way It Was Skipper’s New Book Tells Story of Integration of Alabama’s Football Team Artist and author Steve Skipper, above, will be having a book signing for his new book 9780 Paul Bryant Drive: The Integration of the Football Team at the University of Alabama” at Alabama Booksmith in Homewood on Feb. 23. ‘You hear a lot of talking about it and mostly it’s just myths behind it, like it happened after the game against USC (in 1970).’ 109 Hilltop Business Drive Pelham www.GriffithArtGallery.com 205.985.7969 Acrylic on Acrylic by Maya Eventov
Courtesy Steve Skipper



Biggest WellHouse Gala Yet Raises Money to Help Survivors of Sex Trafficking

The WellHouse junior board’s Grace Gala brought people together over dinner, drinks and a silent auction to raise money for the group and its battle against sex trafficking.

This year’s event, held Jan. 21 at The Fennec, was the group’s largest ever for both attendance and money raised.

The WellHouse provides a safe

residential environment and support services to sex trafficking survivors. Among its services, the WellHouse provides clothing, food, medical treatment, trauma therapy, substance use recovery, case management, life skills classes, job skills classes, education programs, legal assistance, family reunification efforts, employment and job support, mentors and spiritual health classes, according to an

announcement by the group.

The WellHouse recently has expanded to include a home for minors, called WellHouse Child.

The WellHouse’s average annual cost per resident is $40,000, according to the announcement, and The WellHouse serves an average of 75 women and girls each year.

Freedom Financial Group was the premier sponsor for the gala. ❖

12 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Katie Seale, Rachel Waters, Lora Haghighi, Susanne Church and Mallory Seale Journal photo by Jordan Wald Chelsea Pritchett and Mary-John Blevins Chris and Debbie Whitey Rachel and Jason Waters Ashley Foster and Melissa Starr Chris and Debbie Whitey Douglas and Karen Robbins Leah Sanderson, Katherine Dorr and Holly Bunn Jessica Prier, Amanda Woods and Jordan Elkins Jill Moore and Julie Marix Daniel and April McKinney and Amy and Jay Duncan Grant and Kacey Todd and Townsend and Katy Owens

The 79th Holiday Assembly was held Dec. 16 at the Country Club of Birmingham.

The mother-daughter tea, also held at the Country Club of Birmingham, kicked off the traditional season of celebration in September. The presentees are juniors in high school with either a mother, grandmother or aunt who was presented at a past Holiday Assembly.

The presentees and their dates were served a formal dinner in the East Room before the presentation. Carole Sullivan transformed the room with a floral design and winter garland. Escorted by their fathers, the young women were presented formally, followed by a father-daughter dance.

The festivities carried into the night with a dance for the presentees and their high school-aged guests with music by the band Accent from Montgomery.

The presentees at the Holiday Assembly were Miss Laura Burr Buha, daughter of Mr. Jason Paul Buha and Dr. and Mrs. Farrell Owen Mendelsohn; Miss Lula Clayton Byars, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Oliver Byars; Miss Ella Cobbs Cook, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Poellnitz Cook; Miss Lauren Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Brown Clark Jr.; Miss Lillian Marie Cutshall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Euel Cutshall; Miss Helen Morrow Ezelle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Michael Ezelle.

Also presented were Miss Elizabeth Patricia Faulkner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Lawrence Faulkner Jr.; Miss Anne Lindsey Lacey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Anthony Lacey; Miss Mary Ganser Lacey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Anthony Lacey; Miss Sue Sealy McGowin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Warner McGowin and Ms. Amy Elizabeth Sealy; Miss Lucille Delane Pankey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul MacFadden Pankey III; Miss Elizabeth Everett Sandner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Edward Sandner IV.

Other presentees were Miss Mary Caroline South, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Spencer South; Miss Katharine Grace Whatley, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. James Bushnell Whatley; Miss Ann Backes Whigham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Elmore Whigham III; Miss Mary Russell Wood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Copeland Wood III; Miss Virginia Lee Wood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Halsey Wood Jr.; Miss Mary Walton Wood, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Britton Rhodes Wood; and Miss Shelby Elizabeth Wood, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Britton Rhodes Wood. ❖

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Mary Walton Wood, Virginia Wood, Shelby Wood, and Mary Russell Wood

Wishes Granted

Magic Moments Takes Its Name Literally With Magic Show Fundraiser

There were no tricks but plenty of magic at a preperformance party before magician David Garrard’s show on Jan. 22 at the historic Lyric Theatre.

The fun-filled, family-friendly afternoon event was a fundraiser for Magic Moments, the wish granting organization devoted exclusively to children in Alabama with chronic, life-threatening conditions.

Face painting, up-close magic with Tommy Ellison, photo booths and refreshments entertained partygoers of all ages until it was time for Garrard’s show. ❖

14 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
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Journal photos by Jordan Wald Above, Lou and Charlotte Willie Right, Adam and Kristin Snable and Gabrielle, Dave and Jack Tyson Brooke and Chandler Ratliff with Christopher Robinson Cheyenne Posey, Kaiden King and Mickey Mouse Stuart and Barret Trowbridge with sons Sutton and Nolan and Magic Moments Executive Director Sandy Naramore, far right. Vicki, Liam, Brody, Ella, Crystal, Braylen and Justin Herring Mickey and Minnie Mouse with AnneMarie Kacker, Terra Mortensen, and River Rooks From left, Jarrod Hooks, Kedric Hooks, Susan Salter, Kyndall Hooks, Kace Hooks, Kourtni Land, Kingston Land and DeShawn Hooks.

Members of the Hoover Service Club took a walk on the wild side at their Jan. 12 meeting with the presentation “Birds of Prey” by the Alabama Wildlife Center.

Live owls, including a large great horned owl named “Dr. Hoo,” were the highlight of the presentation. Club members learned about the owls, which are common in Alabama. Kim Allen, the club’s first vice president, coordinated the program.

For the group’s Act of Service, members collected items and donations for the charity Bundles of Hope. ❖

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Breathing (and Baking) Room

Kitchen Is at the Heart of Edgewood Home Renovation

The tiny pantry in Amy and Brad Bailey’s home in Edgewood is gone, as is the peninsula countertop in the kitchen. In their stead are a butler’s pantry and a kitchen island, two significant changes made during an overhaul of the first floor.

“We had a tiny little cabinet pantry,” Amy Bailey said. “I thought, you know, if we’re gonna do this, I want to have a nice big kitchen with a big island and I want a big pantry and so we got it.”

Changes that led to a larger kitchen with longedfor features came as part of a renovation the Baileys planned with Twin Construction of Homewood.

The house in the Homewood neighborhood was about a year old when the couple moved in 16 years ago. Their daughters, Campbell, 15, and Sarah, 13, were raised in the home. As the years went by, the family decided it was time “to do a little renovation and get it updated,” Bailey said.

Lydia Smith, an interior designer with Twin Construction, said she and other workers learned the family loves to entertain frequently and wanted bigger and better spaces in the house to do that.

Opening up spaces and developing a floor plan

that flowed more logically became central to the overall design, Smith said. Planning started when her colleague at Twin Construction, plan designer Crystal Tucker, met with the Baileys to talk about the layout and reconfiguration of the floor plan. Then Smith joined the project to help them design what they wanted in those spaces.

After four months in a rental, the Baileys were ready to go home and have started to move back in. Brad Bailey, who loves to cook, is looking forward to preparing the family’s first meal in the new kitchen.

The Baileys had to move out of their home during the four-month remodeling project because of the scale of the work, which included knocking down walls and adding windows to let in more natural light. The family found a rental house in the neighborhood, Bailey said.

Construction plans for the kitchen included expanding its size, replacing the cabinets and adding the island, which doubles as the family’s casual dining table.

Opening Up the House

The kitchen was “kind of closed off” from the living areas of the house, Smith said, so the design

16 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME
See ROOM, page 18

A home remodeling project offers the exciting prospect of a fresh new look for your house, but what can you do to make sure your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare?

Homebuilder Patrick Gilbert and William Siegel of Twin Construction, the company that worked with Homewood homeowners Amy and Brad Bailey, offered these tips.

“I would always recommend that you start the process by creating a ‘needs and wants’ list as well as discussing an overall budget that you feel comfortable investing in the home,” Siegel said.

Once you have a good idea of priorities, goals and budget, look for a contractor and design professional that you can trust to lead you through the multi-step process of determining the best options to meet your family’s

needs and budget.

For example, Twin’s first step would involve a meeting at the house to discuss the needs and wants list and brainstorm layout options that might accommodate these goals. Then they’d provide a rough budget for the work to determine the project’s feasibility and help determine whether that needs and wants list lines up with the customer’s budget, he said.

Siegel suggests waiting to hire an architect or plan designer for drawings until this point in case of project changes.

“The typical process is then a back-and-forth between the plan designer, owner and estimator to work through the details of layout options,” he said.

Once the layout details are finalized, the contractor can establish a final working budget, and you can begin working on the construction selections.

Gilbert, president of the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, said the first thing a customer should check before hiring someone to remodel or build a house is whether they are licensed.

The state’s Home Licensure Board has the names of licensed contractors, said Gilbert, who builds homes mainly in Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia. It’s important to make sure that the contractor’s license status is active. You can check at hblb.alabama.


The second question a customer should ask is whether they carry insurance. Most contractors carry insurance up to $1 million, but that amount can vary depending on the kind of work a contractor does, Gilbert said. For example, a contractor who installs fences probably doesn’t carry that amount of insurance.

Gilbert also advises that customers thoroughly read and understand the contract before signing so they know what’s in it. Those who don’t could be in for unexpected surprises. One example might be discovering the $5,000 allotted for cabinets doesn’t get you as much cabinetry as you thought.

The contractor should give you a schedule that spells out what will be done, Gilbert said.

A big red flag potential customers should pay attention to is how the con-

tract is presented. The contract should be on company letterhead and detail what work will be done. A contract on a sheet of notebook paper won’t do, Gilbert said.

He also suggests asking how long a contractor has been in business and contacting people and asking if they have any experience with that business.

And once you find a builder or contractor you trust, trust them to get the job done, Gilbert said.

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called for rearranging some spaces to make it larger and more open. Using space in a screened porch and what was formerly the dining room, a big great room open to the kitchen was created. That allowed the contractor to extend the size of the kitchen and rework the footprint.

What was the old kitchen became the new butler’s pantry, which Bailey described as “wonderful.” Space was added to the back of the house to expand the den. The powder, laundry and mud rooms were moved.

Bailey “wanted to have space for a double oven and she wanted to make sure she could have a gas cooktop and some places for storage” and better

functionality, Smith said.

Improving functionality included adding an appliance garage for the coffeemaker. The Bailey’s have easy access to the appliance, but when it’s not in use, it’s stored out of sight just by closing the doors on the designated storage spot for small appliances.

The Baileys worked with Smith to pick out décor for the kitchen, such as updated countertops and tile in neutral tones. For the backsplash, Calcutta gold marble tiles were applied in a herringbone pattern, Smith said.

Quartz countertops in Mysterio from Surface One were installed, as was a large stainless steel undermount kitchen sink.

New lighting was added, including recessed can lights to offer good task lighting for cooking, Smith said. A pair of pendant lights were installed

The kitchen was “kind of closed off” from the living areas of the house, Lydia Smith, an interior designer with Twin Construction, said, so the design called for rearranging some spaces to make it larger and more open, above. Right, what was the old kitchen became the new butler’s pantry and bar area.

over the new kitchen island, providing soft lighting for when the family is eating dinner at the island.

As the kitchen area was reconfigured, the old cabinets were removed and new cabinets that go up to the ceiling were installed above the countertops, expanding storage space.

The existing hardwood floor was refinished by sanding and staining it and the walls were painted in White Dove by Benjamin Moore. The rest of the interior was painted to brighten it up and freshen the look, Smith said.

What didn’t change in the house

Legal Notice

18 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME Tricia Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646 January This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the January 26, 2023 issue. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! 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. Antiques and Accessories 2700 19th Place South Homewood | 205-871-9779 Tue.-Fri. 10:30-5:00 | Sat. 11:00-4:00 Your Home is an extension of yourself. Let us help you express you! Tricia’s Treasures Antiques, Upholstered Furniture and Original Art!
In accordance with Chapter 1, Title 39, Code of Alabama, 1975, notice is hereby given Amason & Associates, Inc. Contractor has completed the Construction of Vestavia Hills Community Center, 1090 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 for the City of Vestavia Hills, 1032 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216, and have
Roman BRantley aRt, antiques Gifts & DecoR 2790 BM Montgomery Street Homewood, AL Store Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10-5 205.460.1224 ROOM From page 16
made request for final settlement of said Contract. All persons having any claim for labor, materials, or otherwise in connection with this project should immediately notify William Blackstock Architects; 2204 1st Avenue South, Suite 200; Birmingham, AL 35209 Amason & Associates. P. O. Box 1729 Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403
See ROOM, page 20
‘I thought, you know, if we’re gonna do this, I want to have a nice big kitchen with a big island and I want a big pantry and so we got it.’
Journal photos by Maury Wald

Granite Empire Three Reasons Why You Should Have A Home Maintenance Plan

If you’re like most people, you worked hard to be able to own your own home. It was probably a major investment that you hope to cash in on one day. However, the investment return you’ll get in the future depends on small investments along the way.

It’s a fact. Well-maintained homes sell for more, often much more! Yet, many people simply think maintenance doesn’t matter. That is, until a small issue becomes a big and costly problem to repair.

Investing in ‘Preventative Maintenance” can 1) prevent costly major repairs in the future 2) keep you safer while you live there, and 3) help you earn the most from the sale of your house when you’re ready to sell.

That is why Trublue developed a maintenance program called “House Care Plus”. A Trublue technician starts with a home inspection then develops a list of maintenance tasks that can be done on a monthly or quarterly basis. At the same time, it helps identify issues as they arise.

Here’s an example of a regular maintenance checklist:

1.Change filters

2.Inspect all plumbing for leaks

3.Change batteries & bulbs

4.Look for signs of rodent or pest infiltration

5.Clean gutters

6. Fix faulty locks and hinges

7.Check home for deterioration and signs of mold & mildew

Other services such as installation of security cameras, video doorbells, and even grab bars can make the home safer too. Just remember that while regular maintenance may cost a little today, it can produce major rewards for you later.

“We are a FULL service granite company,” said Granite Empire manager Jessica Duke. “From start to finish our team will educate clients on materials, come out to measure for the template, fabricate and seal your project before we schedule your installation.”

“We even provide a one year warranty for

those ‘new’ to natural stone folks that mistakenly use a bleach wipe removing the sealer on accident. We guarantee to have your countertops installed within 5 to 7 business days.”

Granite Empire also offers other services through “All In One Services” such as tile, cabinets, flooring, etc.

“Our full kitchen and bath remodels have a little longer of wait. About 2 weeks give or take. Projects can take anywhere from two days to two weeks. It just depends on how extensive the remodel is. We respect your time and will do everything we can to complete your project with as little interference as possible. So life can get back to normal in your home.”

Granite Empire of Birmingham relocated from the Gadsden area and has been in their current location on Green Springs Hwy., S. next to King Cotton for a year. “We are planning to dig roots and remain here for a long time,” said Jessica.

“Come see me at the Birmingham home

show February 17-19 at the BJCC. We can talk stone trends, and I can answer any questions you may have about stone or we can chat about your projects specifically,” said Jessica. “We will be handing out exclusive deals for anyone who comes and says this code phrase, 623.”

Why Choose Us?

• Family Owned & Operated

• Fastest Turnaround Time in Town

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• Dedicated Designer for Any Home Project

Granite Empire is located at 1800 Green Springs Hwy S, Birmingham, 256-504-1226.

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 19 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME Cabinets-Tile-Flooring-Countertops Kitchen & Bath Full Remodels Jessica Duke, Granite Empire of Birmingham All In One Services 256-504-1226 www.graniteempirebirmingham.com SMALL PROJECTS SPECIALISTS Call Us NOW! 205-839-3818 The average home needs 22 repairs. What about yours? Tub Cut Outs Save 1000's over Traditional Bath Renovation Restore The Door! - Decks, Steps, Fences -Sheetrock repair -Hang TV/Pictures -Video doorbells -Door/Cabinet Repair -Pressure Washing -Touch-ups -Glass Door Repair -Shower Door Repair

were the dining room, the master bedroom and the stairway leading to the second floor.

Bailey said the family is pleased with the completed project, especially in the time it took to do the job.

“It was a quick renovation for what we did. It was a lot of work and it’s just gone very smoothly,” she said.

After four months in the rental, the Baileys were ready to go home and have started to move back in. They’re looking forward to entertaining again and Brad Bailey, who loves to cook, is looking forward to preparing the family’s first meal in the new kitchen, his wife said.

“He’s so excited. We’ve got a brand new, large range and we are already thinking about what we are going to cook first in our new kitchen,” Bailey said.

20 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL HOME We do it all with you. DESIGN, MEASURE & INSTALL Blinds • Shades • Shutters Drapes • Home Automation © 2021 Budget Blinds, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Budget Blinds is a trademark of Budget Blinds, LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts Brand. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Request a Free Consultation today and learn more: 205-824-3300 2130 Columbiana Road | Vestavia Hills BudgetBlinds.com 30% OFF Signature Series* *excluding shutters Terry Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646 Oct. This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Oct. 15, 2020 issue. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Thank you for your prompt attention. THE CLEAR CHOICE Cahaba Glass Company is a familyowned glass business with more than three decades of service in installation and repair works of most types of glass. Cahaba Glass specializes in the installation of custom shower enclosures, mirrors, glass shelving, furniture top glass, cabinet door glass and specialty glass. cahabaglassco.com | 205.621.7355! To: Attic Antiques From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 Date: January This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the January 27, 2022 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Please initial and fax back within 24 hours. If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday. Thank you for your prompt attention. Tues.-Sat. 10-4:00 5620 Cahaba Valley Road 991-6887 Come See New Items for Spring ROOM From page 18
The Baileys first floor renovation included a new powder room, left, and a laundry room, above.
Journal photos by Maury Wald

Mountain Brook Finalists Compete in District Spelling Bee

Five students from across the Mountain Brook Schools competed in the annual district Spelling Bee on Jan. 12, according to the school system’s website.

Mountain Brook Elementary’s Owen Ward came away as the winner in the 13th round by spelling “benefitted.” (American spelling “benefited” also would have been acceptable.)

Cherokee Bend’s Crosby Long finished in second place.

Other contestants included Bo Stallcup of Crestline Elementary, Campbell Eason of

“We’re very proud of each of these contestants and the way they represented not only themselves but also their school,” district Spelling Bee Coordinator Lanie Kent said.

Each contestant won their respective school’s Spelling Bee during the fall semester to earn a spot in the district bee.

This year’s Spelling Bee Pronouncer was Dr. Lisa Beckham, and the judges were Dr. Susan Cole, Cory Morris and Rachel Weingartner

Bumpus Middle School Student Wins Hoover’s 2023 District Spelling Bee

R.F. Bumpus Middle School eighth grader Serena Agrawal won first place in Hoover’s 2023 District Spelling Bee on Jan. 17 at Spain Park High School.

The soft-spoken yet confident and bright 13-year-old maintained her competitive lead throughout the spelling bee, which lasted 26 rounds and about 90 minutes.

Jay Jacob, a seventh grader at Berry Middle School, was the runner-up.

“I’m excited and worked really hard, so I’m very happy,” Agrawal said. “I want to thank my mom and dad for helping me so much to prepare for the spelling bee.”

Agrawal’s championship word, on which she won the bee, was profundity, which means intellectual depth and understanding. Although Agrawal admits she didn’t know the meaning of the word, that didn’t get in the way of her spelling it correctly.

“It wasn’t too bad because it’s spelled how it’s pronounced,” said Agrawal. “The words themselves were not so hard for the bee. The hard part is preparing for it and participating in the actual competition because I was so nervous.”

“We are so proud of Serena,” Bumpus Middle School Principal Donna Burke said. “She works so hard at school, and it did not surprise us at all that she won. We also look forward to cheering her on at the next level.”

Jacob, the runner-up, was eliminated after misspelling the word pallor, which means unnatural or unhealthy paleness.

Thirteen students from across the district who won their individual school’s spelling bee participated in the district spelling bee. Ten elementary schools were represented, along with all three middle schools. Agrawal will now represent Hoover City Schools in the Jefferson County Spelling Bee next month.

Pizitz Competition Cheer Team Heads to National Tourney

Cheerleaders from Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia Hills are heading to the Universal Cheerleaders Association National High School Cheerleading Championship Feb. 10-12 in Orlando.

Sixteen girls will be competing in the Small Junior High Traditional Routine Division, said Emily Logsdon, a Pizitz teacher who coaches the team with Kim Whitten.

The girls will do a 2.5-minute routine that includes stunting, tumbling, a cheer, dance and pyramid, Logsdon said. They have been working since the summer to prepare for competition season in addition to cheering for football and basketball games.

The cheerleaders competed in the UCA Magic City Regional to qualify for the national competition. They also won the AHSAA State Competition for their division.

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 21 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SCHOOLS
Brookwood Forest Elementary and Emelia White of Mountain Brook Junior High.
Serena Agrawal, above,won first place in Hoover’s 2023 District Spelling Bee. Jay Jacob, below, a seventh grader at Berry Middle School, was the runner-up.


Ty Davis doesn’t know how old he was the first time he picked up a basketball, but seemingly he has had one in his hands his entire life.

That’s not surprising considering Mountain Brook’s 6-foot-5 junior guard belongs to a family of ballers.

His dad, Tyler Davis, grew up in the Hoosier State basketball hotbed of Elkhart, Indiana, playing AAU for his dad, Jack Davis, and at Concord High School for legendary Indiana coach Jim Hahn. Tyler Davis was a high school teammate of Shawn Kemp, a six-time NBA AllStar, and earned a scholarship to Samford. He’s now in his third season as Mountain Brook’s head coach.

the junior varsity at Mountain Brook and his younger sister Avery plays on the Mountain Brook Junior High eighth-grade team.

“It’s awesome being in a family where everyone likes basketball,” Ty Davis said. “We’re always having fun, watching it, playing it or talking about it.”

Ty Davis also enjoys playing for his dad. He’s been on the Mountain Brook varsity since he was a freshman, which also happened to be Tyler Davis’ first year as head coach after being elevated from assistant coach to replace Bucky McMillan.

Ty Davis’ mother, whose maiden name was Ashley Sharp, played basketball at Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee and at Samford, scoring the first points in the history of the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball program

Ty Davis’ mother, whose maiden name was Ashley Sharp, played basketball at Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee and at Samford, scoring the first points in the history of the Bulldogs’ women’s basketball program.

His younger brother Trey plays on

The Spartans won the Class 6A state championship that season.

“It’s been pretty good playing for him,” Ty Davis said. “He keeps the basketball stuff on the court and does the family stuff at home.”

On the court, Tyler Davis considers his son a coach on the floor.

“This is my third year of actually coaching him and watching his game develop,” Tyler Davis said. “He’s an extension of me on the floor. As a

freshman, he played off the ball and last year he was our point guard, but I don’t really watch him closely until I watch film.

“I see a guy who has become a veteran player and has taken his game to another level and a guy who can’t get enough of being in the gym.”

Earlier this month, Ty Davis surpassed 1,000 points for his career in a 71-44 victory against Shades Valley on Jan. 13. He posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists to go

Birmingham Bound?

Jags Shooting for Another Trip to the State Basketball Tournament

For the second straight year, somebody forgot to tell the Spain Park boys basketball team they should be in rebuilding mode.

Two years ago, the Jaguars won 27 games and reached the Class 7A semifinals, then lost a few key players to graduation, including swingman Cam Crawford, the 2021 OTM Player of the Year who is now a sophomore at Indiana State.

But instead of rebuilding, the Jags reloaded, won 27 games and reached the Class 7A semifinals again in 2022.

They lost a few key players off that team, including 6-9 forward-center Colin Turner, the 2022 OTM Player of the Year who is now a freshman at North Georgia.

But once again, the Jags have pushed aside any notion of rebuilding. They entered this week with a 19-4 record and in first place in Class 7A, Area 6 with a 3-1 mark.

Spain Park opened the season 10-0, including wins against Hoover (54-50) and Vestavia Hills (55-54), the top two ranked teams currently in

Class 7A; against James Clemens (7633), the 2022 Class 7A runners-up; and against Jacksonville (69-55), the 2022 Class 4A state champion.

Those victories boosted the Jag’ confidence.

“When we started the season with wins against a lot of good teams, the guys saw how good we could be,” Spain Park coach Chris Laatsch said. “They started thinking that maybe we could get back to Birmingham.”

Birmingham refers to the site of the State Finals at the BJCC Legacy Arena.

But Laatsch, who is closing in on 100 victories in his five seasons at Spain Park, isn’t looking that far ahead.

“Our goal is to reach our potential and establish a high standard in each practice and game,” Laatsch said. “We’ve been playing great and it’s a testament to the guys for working hard and doing the things they are supposed to do to be successful.”

play from seniors Zach Gray and Sam Wright, two returning starters.

Gray, a 6-7 guard, is averaging 18.0 points per game while shooting 40% from three-point range and 83% from the free-throw line. He has signed with Lee University, a NCAA Division II school in Tennessee.

Wright, a 6-9 forward-center, is averaging 17.5 points while shooting 58% from the field and having nine rebounds. He also has a 4.45 grade-point average and scored 29 on the ACT. He has received offers from colleges such as Navy, Dartmouth, Bucknell and Colgate.

“Both of them played key roles in our success last year and this year,” Laatsch said. “They are great kids and super coachable.”

Junior guard Chase James also returned as a starter and is averaging 10.0 points and shooting 45% on three-pointers. “He also does a great job of handling the ball,” Laatsch said.

with five rebounds.

“It was a really fun moment in my career,” Ty Davis said. “Not many people have reached 1,000 points. It makes me want to work even harder.”

Ty Davis is averaging 19.1 points, 6.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game this season. He has had to shoulder more of the scoring load with senior guard Kyle Layton out all season with a knee injury that occurred in the summer.

“Without Kyle I’ve had to be more

ball dominant,” Ty Davis said. “You don’t have many guys who can play better than Kyle.”

Opponents know Ty Davis will have the ball in his hands and gear their defenses to stop him, but he continues to do things necessary for the Spartans to win. Mountain Brook entered this week with a 16-6 overall record and were 4-0 and in first place in Class 6A, Area 10.

“He has definitely had to step up without Kyle,” Tyler Davis said. “A lot of teams have doubled-teamed him and face-guarded him, but he still has good numbers.”

Last week, Ty Davis scored 24 points and handed out 10 assists in a 93-58 blowout of Pell City. He had 17 points and five assists in an 88-47 victory against Woodlawn on a night when the Spartans celebrated the 10th anniversary of their 2013 state championship team, the first in school history.

Ty Davis is starting to draw significant interest from colleges. Alabama head coach Nate Oats and Virginia head coach Tony Bennett have recently been by to watch him. He has received offers from Ole Miss, Samford, Iowa State, Rice, Tennessee Tech and Lipscomb.

“It’s been really humbling, just to see a bunch of coaches interested in me,” Ty Davis said.

In the meantime, Ty Davis is trying to help the Spartans continue their quest to win another state championship, even though he has adopted his dad’s philosophy when it comes to the Spartans’ focus.

“Our goal is to maximize our potential,” he said. “We are not focused on winning a state championship, but we are focused on winning each day and getting 1 percent better.”

Smith and 6-6 junior T.J. Lamar

One Who

Dance With the

You Spain Park has been getting solid


Senior guards Hunter Herritt and Evan Houser, junior guard Korbin Long, 6-7 sophomore forward Jared

have been key contributors. “We’ve got good depth and good size, guys who can shoot it and drive it,” Laatsch said.
22 • Thursday, January 26, 2023 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SPORTS
With a win Tuesday at home against Chelsea and Friday on the road at Hewitt-Trussville, the Jags could clinch the regular season area championship. Zach Gray, a 6-7 guard, is averaging 18.0 points per game while shooting 40% from three-point range and 83% from the free-throw line. Mountain Earlier this month, Ty Davis surpassed 1,000 points for his career in a 71-44 victory against Shades Valley, above, on Jan. 13. Journal photo by Jordan Wald Journal photo by Jordan Wald

‘Five Guys’ Team Effort Puts Spain Park in Position for Another State Bowling Title

Spain Park has earned a chance to add another state bowling title to its trophy case.

The Jaguars won the AHSAA 2023 South Bowling Regional Class 6A-7A boys championship last Friday at Eastern Shore Lanes in Spanish Fort with a thrilling victory in the finals against rival Vestavia Hills.

Spain Park, the defending Class 6A-7A state champions, beat the Rebels 4-2 in the best-of-7 Baker games to win the regional crown. The Jags had a final pin count of 1,297 to the Rebels’ 1,205.

“It was about five guys bowling consistently and bowling clean,” Spain Park coach Stephen Hobbs said. “Strikes are pretty, but picking up pins is what we call bowling clean.”

“We had a great first day in the traditional bowling series. We had 3,058 pins, which is the third-highest total in state history for all classes. In the Baker, which is single elimination, it was about five guys hitting on all cylinders. We also had some guys come in and pick up some key spares.”

Beating Vestavia Hills took a heroic effort.

“The match against Vestavia was exciting,” Hobbs said. “They bowled very well. We had played each other a bunch, so we knew what kind of match to expect.

“I liked the way every guy competed. It’s hard when the other team comes out and rolls four strikes in a row. It can be demoralizing, but our guys came back and fought hard. I liked their tenacity and resiliency.”

In the first round of the Baker for-

mat, Spain Park (798 pins) swept Murphy (546), 4-0. In the semifinals, the Jags (790) swept Spanish Fort (620), 4-0. Vestavia Hills (814) swept Baker (612), 4-0 in the first round and the Rebels (689) swept Auburn (552), 4-0 in the semifinals.

In the traditional series competition last week, Spain Park juniors Luke Eaton and Michael Kimble finished 1-2 in the South 6A-7A competition with series of 689 and 683, respectively. Kimble rolled a 246 in the second round for the top game. Jags sophomore Luke Mitchell was fourth with a series total of 598.

Seniors Liam Hilson and Ethan Lee rounded out the Jags’ top five bowling lineup.

The Rebels’ Chandler Long was fifth in the traditional series with 590 pins, while teammate Joey Sousa rolled 215 for the fifth-best game in the first round. The Rebels had 2,715 pins to finish second behind Spain Park after the first day.

Both the Jags and Rebels advanced to the AHSAA State Championships this Thursday and Friday at the Alley

Bowling Center in Gadsden. Spain Park will be trying to repeat and earn its fourth state title overall.

“We’re definitely in a good position, but anybody can win it,” Hobbs said. “Vestavia is good and HewittTrussville is very good. They rolled 3,030 pins in the North regional. Hartselle and Baker are good, too.

“It comes down to whoever gets hot and whoever bowls the best. If we bowl our best, I like our chances to win.”

Girls Field

Oak Mountain earned a spot in Class 6A-7A girls field with a topfour finish in the South Regional. The Eagles (852 pins) defeated Daphne (708) 4-2 in the best-of-seven Baker games in the first round before losing 4-1 in the semifinals to eventual regional winner Stanhope Stanhope, which had 831 pins to the Eagles’ 689.

Oak Mountain’s Emma Hawkins finished third in traditional series action on Thursday with a 564 series. Stanhope Elmore Alyssa Ward (586)

and Samantha Wilson (575) finished 1-2. The Eagles’ Joelle “JoJo” Smith rolled 221 for the top score in the first round. Hawkins was third with a 203.

This will be Oak Mountain’s first trip to the state tournament since 2019.

The John Carroll Catholic girls will compete in Class 1A-5A after finishing in the top four at the North Regional at the Shindig Family Entertainment Center in Tuscaloosa. John Carroll (644) defeated Price (574) 4-1 in the first round, but the Cavaliers (422) were swept 4-0 by Southside-Gadsden (627) in the semifinals.

The John Carroll boys were eliminated in the first round 4-3 by Corner, which had 1,103 pins to the Cavaliers’ 1,043.

The Cavaliers’ boys had finished second behind Southside after the traditional series with 2,568 pins. Southside had 2,674 pins. John Carroll’s Anthony Mokry rolled 238 to finish second in the second round and Braden Muro rolled 201 to finish fifth in the third round.


From page 24

Board President Mike Welsh said in a statement. “I commend the Central Board for standing by the constitution and by-laws of the AHSAA. The process to change a by-law includes a school submitting a proposal in January, which is then surveyed by the member schools in February and voted on by the Legislative Council in April. However, that process could not be completed soon enough in this instance.”

The Bucs are scheduled to the open the 2023 season against Hueytown on Feb. 17 in the PBA Alabama Kickoff Classic at Hoover.



From page 24

Mortimer Jordan (31-3) rallied with four straight wins by Caleb Wright at 113 pounds, Aiden Morris at 120, Brodie Christmas at 126 and Cruz Rainwater at 132.

Ransom praised his “smaller guys” ability to finish matches and avoid pinfall losses. Mountain Brook’s Nathan McCain clinched the team victory with a 5-3 decision over John Leon at 145 pounds in the next-to-last individual match.

“The guys did what we asked,” Ransom said. “Sometimes in wrestling you can avoid pins and get bonus points if you can keep matches tight.

Our 106 (Wyatt Chavez) earned bonus points, our 120 (Christopher Brown) hadn’t wrestled all year but stepped in for an injured teammate and kept his match close and our 126-pounder (Douglas Johnson wrestled a two-time state champion and took him to the limit before losing 7-6.”

Courtenay was ecstatic about the Spartans ending their wrestling state title drought.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Courtenay said. “I also play football and we didn’t quite make it, so it’s nice to see we won.”

Courtenay, a junior, was an offensive lineman on Mountain Brook’s football team that lost to Saraland 38-17 in 2022 Class 6A championship game.

With the Duals championship secured, the Spartans will turn their focus to the traditional state tournament next month in Huntsville

“I’m looking forward to chasing another state title in February,” Ransom said. “The guys did everything from a team aspect in the Duals and now they can battle it out for themselves for individual titles and maybe we can go back-to-back with another team title.”

Class 6A Championship Match Results

Mountain Brook 32 Mortimer Jordan 27

106: Wyatt Chavez, Mountain Brook dec. Amonte Fleming, Mortimer Jordan, Mag. Dec 10-2.

113: Caleb Wright, Mortimer Jordan dec. Stephen Springfield, Mountain Brook, 9-4.

120: Aiden Morris, Mortimer Jordan dec. Christopher Brown, Mountain Brook, 6-2.

126: Brodie Christmas, Mortimer Jordan dec. Douglas Johnson, Mountain Brook, 7-6.

132: Cruz Rainwater, Mortimer Jordan pinned Bill Bradford, Mountain Brook, Fall 1:14.

138: Nathan McCain, Mountain Brook dec. John Leon, Mortimer Jordan, 5-3.

145: Caden Todoroff, Mortimer Jordan pinned Stuart Andrews, Mountain Brook, Fall 1:34.

152: Jacob Horton, Mortimer Jordan dec. Coleman Bates,

Casey Dunn, a Vestavia Hills native and current head coach at UAB, took exception to the AHSAA ruling, posting the following comments on Twitter: “(It’s) time to look at the intent of your rules and do the right thing. We should be celebrating both coach and player for winning a Gold Medal as part of our national team. Let’s promote the great coaches and athletes we have in our state, not punish them!”

Mountain Brook, 4-2.

160: Judd Smith, Mountain Brook dec. Gavin Friese, Mortimer Jordan, 8-2.

170: Conner Horton, Mortimer Jordan dec. Sam Carroll, Mountain Brook, 7-3.

182: Jack Windle, Mountain Brook dec. Weston Tossie, Mortimer Jordan, 13-1 maj. dec.

195: Allen Baker, Mountain Brook pinned Terrence Bowie, Mortimer Jordan, Fall 2:59

220: William Courtenay, Mountain Brook pinned Jacob Anderson, Mortimer Jordan, Fall 1:00.

285: Daniel Ellis, Mountain Brook, pinned Malik Barfield, Mortimer Jordan, Fall 3:52

Thursday, January 26, 2023 • 23 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SPORTS
Mountain Brook honored its 2013 boys basketball team, which captured the first state championship in school history, last Friday at Spartan Arena before its game against Woodlawn. Former Spartans head coach Bucky McMillan, who coached that team, described the celebration as an “amazing night” on Twitter. “This team changed a belief that paved the way for 8 state final appearances in 9 years,” McMllan wrote. Current Spartans head coach Tyler Davis, who was an assistant coach then, said, “I loved seeing these guys. Wow so much fun telling old stories and seeing everyone back where they started!” Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Spartans Claim First Ever State Wrestling Championship

AHSAA Suspends Moseley for Hoover’s 2023 Baseball Season

When the Hoover baseball team began practice for the upcoming 2023 season last week, it did so without head coach Adam Moseley.

Moseley was suspended for the season by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for violating one its rules on coaching one of his players outside the season.

Moseley was one of the coaches on the USA Baseball Under 18 National Team in September. Hoover middle infielder RJ Hamilton played for the team, which won the gold medal.

According to an AHSAA bylaw written and voted into the constitution by member schools, a coach in any sport cannot coach one of his players in competition outside of season during the school year. Since the games took place in September, a violation took place.

The AHSAA rule book says when that happens it “renders that student or the offending coach ineligible in the sport in which the violation occurred for that school season.”

Moseley decided to sit out this season so Hamilton could play. Hamilton, a senior, has signed with Vanderbilt to play college baseball.

The Mountain Brook wrestling team made history last week.

The Spartans had never won an Alabama High School Athletic Association state championship of any kind, not in the traditional state tournament which began in 1959 or the State Duals tournament which started in 2017.

But last Friday, the Spartans were able to hoist a championship trophy after defeating Mortimer Jordan 32-27 in the Class 6A Wrestling Duals Finals at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

“We got the monkey off our back,” Mountain Brook coach Justin Ransom said. “We challenged our guys to finish the drill. They bought into what we were trying to teach them and believed in themselves and just did it.”

In the immediate aftermath, Ransom was still coming to grips with what the Spartans had accomplished.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “All year we’ve been telling them that they were better than they were and to make history they had to believe it. We were finally able to get everything to fall in place.

“Along the way, we had a very tough road against No. 1 McAdory (in the first round), No. 3 Homewood (in the quarterfinals) and

No. 4 Wetumpka (in the semifinals). And Mortimer Jordan won the (Class 5A-6A traditional) team state champion last year.”

The Spartans defeated McAdory 38-21, Homewood 33-26 and Wetumpka 41-22 to set up its dual with Mortimer Jordan.

Mountain Brook (14-4) took control against Mortimer Jordan by winning five consecutive individual matches, including pins by Allen Baker at 195 pounds, William Courtenay at 200 and Daniel Ellis at 285.

Hoover appealed the decision, but last week the AHSAA denied its appeal. Hoover, in turn, issued a statement that assistant baseball coach Chris Wilson will lead the Bucs this season.

Moseley, who was the pitching coach for Team USA, released a statement on his social media pages following the ruling:

“I am disappointed that the AHSAA did not see merit in the extensive documentation from USA Baseball, which clearly states I did not take part in coaching my player during the event in question. I have taken every step to work through this process in a manner that is open and honest and I will continue to do so.

“Moving forward, I am committed to doing all the AHSAA will allow to support Chris Wilson and Chris Coons, along with ALL of our players, as they lead the Bucs forward while we consider all possible solutions to this situation.”

Moseley is in his ninth season as the Bucs’ coach and led Hoover to the 2017 Class 7A state championship.

“We appreciate Hoover High School following the appeal process and for their presentation,” AHSAA Central

SPORTS Thursday, January 26, 2023 ❖
Birmingham Bound? Jags shooting for another trip to the state basketball tournament Page 22 Bloodlines: Mountain Brook’s Ty Davis relishes being a member of a family of ballers Page 22 Journal photos by Jordan Wald
See MOSELEY, page 23
Mountain Brook (14-4) took control against Mortimer Jordan by winning five consecutive individual matches, including pins by Allen Baker at 195 pounds, above, William Courtenay at 200 and Daniel Ellis at 285. Nathan McCain, at left below, clinched the team victory with a 5-3 decision over John Leon at 145 pounds in the next-to-last individual match.
‘All year we’ve been telling them that they were better than they were and to make history they had to believe it.’
See SPARTANS, page 23