OTMJ 6.13.24

Page 1

If ever a kid could have been called a chip off the block, it was Braxton Weidman.

At least that’s the impression Chris Weidman gives when he describes his late son.

Braxton was the middle child of Chris and Brandie Weidman. He had an older brother, Cason, called Case, and a younger sister, Lyla.

“He was more like me with his personality,” Chris Weidman said. “He looked more like me and my family. The other two look more like their mother and their mother’s family.

“We had a bond. We liked cars and we liked baseball. He was the most talented athlete of our children. I spent lots of time with him.”

That bond was short-lived. Nine-year-old Braxton died Feb. 1, 2022, following a 17-month battle with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer called gliomatosis cerebri.

The closeness of the father and son was displayed throughout Braxton’s battle.

“Even during his entire therapy we worked on a CJ5 Jeep ‘cause he wanted to ride in a Jeep to radiation, so we made it happen,” Weidman said. “I never left his side, but I wish I had held him more.”

Pediatric Cancer Advocate

Since Braxton’s death, Weidman has become a pediatric brain cancer consultant and philanthropist, traveling around the country to raise awareness about glioblastoma and money for pediatric brain cancer research. As part of his campaign, he has been featured on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Weidman, a senior oncology sales director for siParadigm Diagnostic Informatics, will be the honoree, along with his family, for the annual Tee It Up Fore Life American Cancer Society Golf Tournament on June 17 from noon to 6 p.m. at Old Overton Club. A portion of the proceeds will go to pediatric cancer research. The goal for the tournament this year is to raise $200,000 for cancer research. The tournament has raised more than $1.6 million since it began in 2009. Past honorees include Pat Sullivan, Bruce Pearl and Nate Oats.

‘We Had a Bond’

Death of His Son Turns Tee It Up For Life Honoree into Pediatric Cancer Advocate

“My family is honored immensely to be recognized for something that is the life mission we put ourselves on since our son got sick and eventually died,” Weidman said. “Raising awareness about financing and treatment options is something we have poured our hearts and minds into. I am thankful for the American Cancer Society for giving us a platform to continue to do that.”

Weidman has been working with four pediatric-centric foundations or charities, expanding resources and awareness for childhood cancers, specifically pediatric brain cancers. His philanthropic work includes consulting with newly diagnosed families whose children have brain tumors, helping them navigate their diagnosis and therapies as well as providing financial and clinical trial guidance.

‘I never left his side, but I wish I had held him more.’

“So far to date we have raised over one-half million dollars for PBC research and helped navigate multiple families through the complex and multifaceted world of treating a child with a brain tumor,” Weidman said.

Weidman has called for the federal government to increase its funding.

“The federal government allocates around four percent of its annual cancer research budget to childhood cancer, which is less than $3 per child,” he said. “According to PNOC (Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium), pediatric brain cancer only receives around one percent of that four percent of federal research funding.”

In a recent LinkedIn post, Weidman shared some statistical information about pediatric cancer. His sources indicate that every day in America a child under 19 years old is diagnosed with a life-altering brain cancer or tumor that will have a 95% chance of killing them. In total, it’s estimated there will be 5,700 new pediatric brain cancer diagnosis in America in 2024, according to his research.

He said brain tumors are the largest cause of cancer-related deaths in children 0-14 years of age. Gliomas, which is the kind of tumor Braxton

See BRAXTON, page 10


The Trio of Friends Behind Garden Party Designs Creates Florals – and Has Fun Doing It


SOCIAL Courtesy
‘My family is honored immensely to be recognized for something that is the life mission we put ourselves on since our son got sick and eventually died.’ Above, Chris Weidman with son Braxton.
Petal Parties


TNT renovating a 1925 building downtown to reopen this Fall PAGE 6


We asked some of our favorite local businesses for suggestions on what to get Dad PAGE 8


The Weinacker family carries a tennis legacy that begins with a matriarch PAGE 8


From bombings to prison riots: Vestavia Mayor reflects on 23-year FBI career PAGE 10

WE’RE ON VACATION! We’ll return with our next issue on July 11

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 Writers: June Mathews, Anne Ruisi

Photographer: Jordan Wald

Sports Editor: Rubin E. Grant

Contributors: Evelyn Byrne, Solomon Crenshaw Jr., Lee Hurley, Madoline Markham Koonce, Susan Swagler

Advertising Sales: Julie Trammell Edwards, Gail Kidd

Vol. 34, No. 17

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 2024 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All

and may be edited or declined without notification.

Guest Column | Susan Swagler

A Kind (of) Mother-in-Law

My son, Brother, recently got married and, ahead of the happy day, I was telling everyone about it. Everyone. You’re the total stranger in line behind me at the Pig? I mentioned it. My spin class at the Y knows all about it. So does our mail carrier, people at the nail salon and anyone I’ve worked with in the past six months.

When I’d tell people, nearly everyone replied: “How wonderful! Do you like her?” And I told them all, “No. I love her.”

Because I do love Ana. She’s the perfect life partner for Brother. And besides, I’m just not going to be that mother-in-law.

You know – the difficult one with her unsolicited advice and bossiness. The mean, meddlesome one. The stereotype. The kind of mother-in-law that the weddingday makeup artist said he has “to navigate.” (Yes, Ana included me in the getting-ready part of the day. I loved every moment of being with her and her mom and bridesmaids.)

But I did my part to make the wedding weekend special, too, approaching my role in a way that was intentionally helpful and kind and loving.

My husband and I put a lot of thought into the rehearsal dinner, which, I’ll admit, I kept calling “my party.” Because, well, it sorta was. But, still, I made sure, in the end, that the evening was all about celebrating Ana and Brother.

Susan Swagler with her son, Brother.

covery. It was a fun way to direct people to their seats. When they arrived, each guest received an envelope with a postcard that corresponded to a larger version on each table. Their postcard was their table “destination.”

But actually, the postcards were more than that.

Each one was stamped and preaddressed to Ana and Brother. Everyone was encouraged to write their best wishes or marriage advice on their postcards and mail them or give them to the couple. Many people did this that night. And each day’s mail is bringing a new perspective.

“Be true to yourselves. Be loyal to each other. Be open to what life brings you.”

My husband and I put a lot of thought into the rehearsal dinner, which, I’ll admit, I kept calling “my party.”

Instead of numbered tables (no table nine of nine at my party!), I worked with Brother to design postcards using photos of the places he and Ana have traveled –places that are most meaningful to them, where they’ve already made sweet memories. Cape Town, South Africa. Yosemite. Joshua Tree. Bankhead National Forest. Flat Laurel Creek. They are an adventurous couple, and this was a way to share their shared passion for travel and dis-

“There’s no winning an argument with your spouse because if you win, that means the love of your life has lost. And that’s not a good thing.”

“Marry the right person. (DONE!)”

“Choose listening over talking. Choose questions over statements. Assume best intentions. See everything through the lens of your best moments. You got this!”

And in this way, with guests happily participating, the evening became an absolute and ongoing celebration of love. And Ana and Brother have special keepsakes they can always treasure.

I’ve been married for nearly 37 years, but I’m paying attention to these messages, too. Because it occurs to me that I don’t always approach every day with this kind of intentionality and thoughtfulness and love. I could do better. Probably most of us could do better.

There are families we are born into and those we choose. We can also choose how to be in those families, how to interact with each other. I call Ana my daughterin-love. I aim to be her mother-in-love, too.

Moonlight Movies returned to Mountain Brook’s Lane Parke on May 31 with a screening of Disney’s “Encanto.” Relaxing on folding chairs or blankets they brought from home, moviegoers watched the film with dinner, snacks and drinks picked up from the restaurants and shops in the shopping district.

rights reserved. The
is not responsible for return of photos, copy and
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
otmj.com Under the Stars Over
the Mountain Views
DAUGHTER DROVE DECISION Above, Meghan, Madeline, David and Dylan Angeline. Right, showtime. Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 3 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN Call (888) 787-1112 or visit NationalRarities.com for any item-related questions. *A free evaluation will be provided, but there is no obligation to purchase your items. Exclusions Apply. **We are not an authorized Rolex dealer nor are we affiliated or endorsed by Rolex, Rolex USA, or any of its subsidiaries. JUNE 25 - 27 Tuesday - Wednesday 9:30am - 5pm | Thursday 9:30am - 4pm 330 Rele Street, Mountain Brook, AL 35223 | Call for directions: (205) 871-7060 We buy gold, silver, diamonds, coins & more! 3 DAYS ONLY RECEIVE A 20% BONUS When you trade for store credit * Receive immediate payment! No appointment necessary. Ready to Sell? SCAN QR CODE HERE for full buying event details. SELL YOUR VALUABLES TO THE NATION’S LEADING ESTATE BUYERS WHAT WE BUY Fine Jewelry Diamonds Scrap Gold & Silver Coins & Currency Watches Sterling Silver Rarities Fine Art & Luxury Goods & Much More

Tuesdays through Aug. 6

West Homewood Farmer’s Market

Fresh farm produce and other goodies will be on hand every Tuesday as the West Homewood Farmer’s Market opens for another summer season. When: 5-8 p.m. Where: 160 Oxmoor Road

Wednesdays through Sept. 11

Vestavia Hills Farmers Market

Live music, fresh produce, jewelry, baked goods and many other items will be on hand every Wednesday at the Vestavia Hills Farmers Market. The market is a mission of Vestavia Hills Methodist Church, with funds from the market used to supply the church’s food pantry with fresh fruit and vegetables. When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Scout Square, 2061 Kentucky Avenue

June 13-30

Mary Poppins

Gliding into the lives of the troubled Banks family, Mary Poppins uses a combination of magic and common sense to bring young Jane and Michael around. But even the grownups get a lesson or two in life, love, and old-fashioned manners from their new nanny. With all the unforgettable songs and dance numbers, plus astonishing stagecraft, it’s a theatrical event for the whole family. When: Various showtimes Where: Red Mountain Theatre

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Musical

VST’s truly scrumptious season concludes with the Birmingham premier of the smash hit London musical, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” a family friendly summer musical! When: Various showtimes Where: Virginia Samford Theatre


Vestavia Hills will celebrate the Fourth of July a bit early at the 42nd annual I Love America Night. Children’s activities, live music, a business expo, movie, food concession stands and a fireworks show after dark are among the highlights of this family-favorite event. When: 6-9 p.m. Where: Wald Park

June 14-23

Rocky Horror Show

Let’s do the Time Warp with Janet, Brad and Dr. Frank-N-Furter when the campy, kitschy rock ‘n’ roll, sci-fi gothic musical hits the stage in Birmingham! When: Various showtimes Where: Birmingham Festival Theatre

June 14-28

Free Friday Flicks

Head to CityWalk in downtown Birmingham every Friday evening in June for a free family-friendly film to delight everyone! The movie lineup includes: “Kung Fu Panda 4” on June 14; “The Princess Bride” on June 21 and “Wonka” on June 28. When: 7 p.m. Where: CityWalk

Sat., June 15

I’m with Mike 5K & 1 Mile Walk Join the Mike Slive Foundation in the fight against prostate cancer via this 5K race and 1 mile walk. There’s also a kid’s dash for the young ones to participate. There will be a live DJ, food, face tattoos and much more! When: Warm up is at 7:45 a.m., Kid’s Dash start at 7:50 a.m., and the 5K and 1 mile events start at 8 a.m. Where: Starts at The Battery restaurant parking lot in Homewood

Royal Pancakes and Princesses Breakfast

An enchanted day at the Birmingham Zoo starts with yummy food and a cast of magical characters at the Royal Pancakes and Princesses Breakfast. When: seatings at 8:3010 am., 10:30 a.m.-noon. Where: Birmingham Zoo


Cap off Fourth of July fun at Homewood’s annual July 4th Festival. The pedestrian-friendly event will feature three blocks of downtown Homewood blocked to traffic. The festival is free, with a DJ and interactive activities. Rides and inflatables will be on hand for unlimited fun during the festival via a $10 wristband, which can be purchased on site. Downtown Homewood is a prime viewing spot for the Thunder on the Mountain fireworks display that evening. When: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Where: Downtown Homewood

Mark Thomas, Mariah and Tom Oliver get ready to watch Thunder on the Mountain in downtown Homewood last year.

the popular Hoover venue. The party, now in its 21st year, will include live and silent auctions, entertainment and dinner. When: Reception and silent auction start at 6 p.m., dinner and live auction start at 7 p.m. Where: Aldridge Gardens

Sat., June 29

Disney Movie Masterpieces: Cruella

Enjoying last years I Love America Night were, Callen Willis, Caroline Draney and Jenny Lynn Byrd

Festa Italiana

Ciao! The Italian American Heritage Society presents this one-day event to promote and preserve Italian culture and heritage with activities centered upon Italian traditions, foods, language culture, history, religion, folklore, customs, celebrations, music and family! Vendors will be on hand selling authentic Italian goods and there will be cooking demos, wine and cheese tasting, dancing, grape stomping, bocce ball competitions and more. When: 3 p.m. Where: Sloss Furnaces

Tues., June 18

Governor’s Disability Policy Summit

A consumer-driven day of disability advocacy discussion and information. This in-person event aims to bring together policymakers, advocates and individuals with disabilities to address key issues and drive positive change. When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., networking event, 4-6 p.m. Where: Lakeshore Foundation

Thurs., June 20

MLB at Rickwood

Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants will play a special regular season game at Rickwood Field, the oldest professional ballpark in the country and former home of the Birmingham Black Barons. There also will be a variety of activities as a tribute to Birmingham native Willie Mays, the legendary Hall of Famer who played with the Black Barons and the Giants. When: 6:15 p.m. Where: Rickwood Field.

Fri., June 21

Hydrangeas Under the Stars

Aldridge Gardens will hold its premier fundraiser and garden gala to support

Disney Movie Masterpieces showcases the fashion-forward origins of an iconic villain in the 2021 film, “Cruella”. This stylish event features a screening of the film, inviting you to delve into the world of young fashion designer Estella and her transformative journey into Cruella de Vil. Following the movie, guests are invited to take home a Cruellathemed art kit. When: Noon Where: Birmingham Museum of Art

Thurs., July 4


More than 2,500 shells and effects will burst into the sky and brighten Vulcan at the annual Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show. The spectacular event from atop Red Mountain is easily seen from downtown Homewood and Southside Birmingham and the accompanying synchronized soundtrack will be available on several iHeart media radio stations. When: About 9 p.m. Where: Vulcan Park

American Village Independence Day Celebration

Celebrate the Spirit of ’76 with a day at American Village! Among the activities planned are Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence, Miss Teen Alabama Ali Mims singing the national anthem, a salute to veterans, a performance of patriotic music by the Montevallo Community Band and fireworks in the

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
Journal file photo
Jordan Wald
by Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

evening. When: Gates open at 11 a.m., activities begin at 11:30 a.m.

Where: American Village, Montevallo

Thurs., July 18

Lift Your Spirits

This annual event for Community Grief Support is a fun-filled night of gathering and entertainment in a casual atmosphere. There will be a buffet, a DJ and dancing, with silent and live auctions featuring fabulous merchandise, artwork, and travel and dining experiences. When: 6-9 p.m.

Where: Vestavia Country Club

July 19-Aug. 11

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Before she was a hit-maker and music legend, Carole King was Carole Klein, a teenage songwriter from Brooklyn. “Beautiful” is the story of her journey from a high school dreamer to a trailblazer in a male-dominated profession. When: Various showtimes

Where: Red Mountain Theatre

Fri., July 26

Glow for a Cure

Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama’s 12th annual Glow for a Cure night golf tournament supports the junior board’s Lindy Harrell Predoctoral Scholars Program in Alzheimer’s research at UAB. When: 5 p.m. Where: Highland Golf Course

A Traditional Fest

BBQ Festival at OLS to Mark Fourth of July

The Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church’s July 4 BBQ Festival returns next month for its 75th year.

The festival includes food, children’s games, bingo and the Trash & Treasure rummage sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Children’s games will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and bingo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A raffle will be drawn at 3 p.m. for 19 prizes worth a total of $11,500. Tickets will be available on site or can be picked up in advance in the church vestibule or church office.

Food offerings at the festival are to include barbecue pork sandwiches, hot dogs and plates with pork, ribs, sliced smoked turkey breast or chicken along with beans, slaw and bread.

Owen McCarthy and Debra Megges at last year’s Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church’s July 4 BBQ Festival returns next month for its 75th year.

Diners will be served in the parish hall between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Bulk orders can be picked up in the OLS school cafeteria between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. July 3 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4. Sales are on a firstcome, first-served basis. Offers include whole Boston butts, boneless turkey breasts, chopped pork, pork ribs, smoked half chickens, beans, slaw and sauce.

For more information, visit ourladyofsorrows.com.

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald
THE 2024-2025 SEASON IS HERE! EXPERIENCE THE MOMENT AlysStephens.org 1580 Montgomery Hwy Hoover • (205) 823-6500 www.wbu.com/birmingham Great Gifts for Dad! FATHER'S DAY IS JUNE 16TH! BIRDFOOD • FEEDERS GARDEN ACCENTS • UNIQUE GIFTS Relax in the great OUTDOORS!

Grand Design

A construction barricade blocks the inside view of the former auction house for now, but by fall a building in downtown Birmingham will be transformed into the new home of Terrific New Theatre.

Work crews are converting the former Alabama Auction Room at 2112 Fifth Ave. North into the theater, a revival of a 1925 building that was vacant for 20 years before John and Louise Beard, local philanthropists and long-time Terrific New Theatre fans, bought it and gave it to the theater as a gift.

“It’s going to be a bigger and better space than TNT had before,” said Tam DeBolt, the theater’s executive director.

The theater is moving into new digs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeBolt said.

Lockdowns led to the loss of the theater’s home of about 30 years in Pepper Place as the organization ceased in-person operations in March 2020. With no productions being staged and no money coming in, it was a tough but necessary decision to close down during the pandemic, DeBolt said.

“But it meant the organization could be saved,” she added.

As the pandemic eased, the organization’s leaders realized they’d have to relocate and started looking at available space. They found it at the Fifth Avenue North site in February 2023.

“So here we are, on the verge of reopening in a bigger and better place.

Bigger and better for everybody. And we own it, which makes a big difference,” DeBolt said.

Terrific New Theatre opened in 1986 with a mission to promote nonprofit community theater in Birmingham by staging high-quality contemporary programs using local talent, according to its website, terrificnewtheatre.com. That means the actors, designers, lighting designers, set builders and so on, are all local, DeBolt said.

Preservation of Art Deco Details

Construction started Jan. 2 with interior demolition, debris removal and cleaning of the building elements that will remain, such as original Art Deco wall tiles in what will be the entrance

sconces lighting the lobby, she added. The box office is in the lobby, and tucked into a corner will be a small seating area for patrons. Administrative offices will be just off the lobby, and behind the lobby is a hallway with space for four individual, ADAaccessible restrooms.

Past the hallway, the interior space opens up into the wide auditorium, which will consist of the stage, seating and technical booth, an area of about 3,500-square-feet. New drywall is up and clusters of construction material on the floor indicate work that will be done. In May, crews were working on installing heating and cooling ducts and overhead lighting.

lobby area. The terra cotta-colored squares will be painted a dark color, maybe dark green or blue.

“It fits with the time period,” DeBolt said as she offered a tour of the 7,500-square-foot building, which is more than twice as large as the former theater in Pepper Place.

An Art Deco feel to the new theater was the architect’s idea and will be reflected in detail such as the wall

As work progresses on the auditorium, which will be in a traditional layout with the audience directly facing the stage, the crew will install 100 traditional-style theater seats, two more than were in TNT’s former home, DeBolt said.

Originally, seats from TNT’s former space at Pepper Place were going to be moved, but one of the theater’s board members heard seats from Guntersville High School’s auditorium were free for the taking. A new high school was being built and the old auditorium’s seats were available, so 100 were secured.

At about the same time, TNTs capi-

Birmingham Museum of Art

6 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL ABOUT TOWN presented by
Through Aug 18 Presented by PNC, with generous support from the Alabama Power Foundation, EBSCO Industries, Protective Life Foundation, Vulcan Materials Company and the Warner Foundation; as well as the patronage of the Marian and Albert Oberman Fund and CraneWorks. We also gratefully acknowledge the significant supporter of Sallie and Jim Johnson, as well as the contributions of Gail Andrews and Richard Marchase, Graham Boettcher, Lydia Cheney and Jim Sokol, and Dora and Sanjay Singh Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume is curated by the Walt Disney Archives.
TNT Renovating a 1925 Building Downtown to Reopen This Fall

tal campaign for the new theater was underway, including an option for patrons to buy seats. Sixty-one have been sold so far, raising enough that TNT can buy brand new theater seats.

Those who bought seats via fund raising will either get their names on “their” seat in the auditorium or there will be plaque in the lobby containing all the seat donors’ names, DeBolt said.

Most of the remaining seats will be sold but some will be kept.

“We may use them in fun spots in the theater, like in the back for the actors. We may put up a row of like six seats for them to hang out in the back or we may put a couple in the lobby just for fun to have them as seating,” DeBolt added.

Behind the stage, which has yet to be built, will be a workshop for build ing sets, storage areas for props and backdrops, two restrooms and two dressing rooms that can accommodate six actors each. There also are kitchen and laundry facilities and a load-in bay.

Having laundry facilities in-house

Art for the Community

Artstober Applications Being Taken

Local artists interested in showing their work during the Artstober exhibit at Vestavia Hills City Hall can contact the city’s Arts Council now. Art will be chosen from among those submitted to be displayed in City Hall throughout October.

An artist’s prospectus with details is to be published this month, according to Walt Costilow, a member of the Vestavia Hills Arts Council’s board. The entry deadline is Aug. 6.

Interested artists can contact Costilow at wtcostilow3@gmail.com.

6:00-8 :00 pm

Children’s Area Sponsored by Vestavia Hills Methodist Church Sponsor Booths

Free Swimming at the Wald Park Aquatic Complex

Music by Chevy 6, 6:30-8 :30 pm


Free Shuttles will be available from nearby parking lots. Concession Stand and Food Trucks will be open for purchases Visit www.vestaviahills.org for Parking and other Information.

ease Rain

Many Thanks to All Our Sponsors

GOLD Sponsors

Allstate: The Sabatini Agency * Amanda Pair Foundation

America’s First Federal Credit Union * Ascension St. Vincent ’s Health System

Avadian Credit Union * AVIA Apartments * BBB Serving Central & South Alabama

Birmingham Christian Family * Biscuit Love

Cahaba Dermatology Skin Health Center

Cellular Sales Authorized Agent of Verizon Wireless * D1 Vestavia Hills

Davenport’s Pizza Palace * Digital Trends * Dumpster Daddy

ERA King Real Estate * First Horizon Bank * GameDay Men ’s Health

Grandview Medical Center * Homewood Pediatric Dentistry * IRA Innovations

Jackson, Howard & Whatley, CPAs * John Henley State Farm Insurance

Leaf & Petal * Levy’s at Gus Mayer * Liberty Park Joint Venture

Medical Properties Trust * Medicare Advisors of Alabama * New Day Car Wash

Noto Roofing * OnTime Service * Overture Tributary * Payroll & Benefits Solutions

Regions Bank * Rocky Ridge Drug Company * Sarver Orthodontics

Sentry Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical * Shoe Station * Spire

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK * UAB Callahan Eye * Vestavia Dental * Vestavia Voice

Village Dermatology * Vulcan Wellness & Aesthetics * Waynes Pest Control

SILVER Sponsors

Action Martial Arts * Activate Games * Altadena Eye Care * AmWaste

Birmingham Chimney Services * Blue Lake Orthodontics * Chick -fil-A Vestavia Hills

Cookie Fix * Crumbl Cookies * European Wax Center * Fair Haven

Frank Carnaggio Photography * Jeremiah s Italian Ice Vestavia Hills

Jimmie Hale Mission * Megan Kincaid -ARC Realty * Mighty Dog Roofing

Monster Tree Service * Promotional Creations * Pure Fitness

Rise + Refine Hot Yoga * Town Village Vestavia Hills * Vestavia Barber Shop



Jacob, Jay and Jimmy Weinacker. Jimmy and Jay have racked up nine national fatherson championships.

Three Generations of Tennis Royalty

The Weinacker Family Carries a Tennis Legacy That Begins With a Matriarch

This Father’s Day story starts with a mother.

Marcia Weinacker of Mobile passed away in 2015 at the age of 88 after leaving a legacy that few will equal.

Marcia held multiple state championships in tennis, including singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. She was nationally ranked in singles and played in tournaments both nationally and internationally, including the U.S. Open at Forest Hills and the European Women’s Tour.

Her 18th state title came in 2000 at the age of 72.

In 2008, she was inducted into the Greater Mobile Area Tennis Hall of Fame, and that same year she was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, she bore nine children – Marcia, Bobby, Sidney, Jimmy, Jerry, Mary, Sue, Peggy and John Pau. She taught them all how to play tennis on a handball court her husband built at the house.

One of those nine kids, Jimmy Weinacker, was good enough that he played tennis and basketball at Springhill College in Mobile and, thankfully for this story’s sake, made tennis his lifelong passion and career.

Like Father, Like Sons

Jimmy Weinacker has been the director of tennis at Pine Tree Country Club since 2005. Until the closing of Birmingham-Southern College, he was head coach of the men’s tennis team, taking them most recently to a national ranking of 40th and their league conference champi-

onship, where they lost only to 15th ranked Sewanee.

Tennis enthusiasts might also remember Jimmy as director of tennis at Mountain Brook Swim and Tennis.

Among other accolades, Jimmy was inducted into the Alabama Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, and in 2014 he served as head coach for the Alabama Junior Davis Cup Team.

Yet, if you ask Jimmy his proudest tennis accomplishment, he might offer up the nine national father-son championships he and his son Jay Weinacker racked up.

Jay, a Mountain Brook High School graduate in 2005, played number one on the tennis team all four years of high school and – along with Hunter Carney, Trey Walston and doubles partner Hunter Perry – helped win four state championships in a row.

Jay went on to play scholarship tennis at North Carolina State, where he still holds the school record for the most singles wins at 106.

He was named an All-American his senior year.

Jay isn’t the only son of Jimmy who fell in love with the game. Jacob Weinacker came along nearly a decade later and worked his way up to number one on Mountain Brook’s team, which lost the state championship to archrival Vestavia Hills.

Jacob went on to play at Birmingham-Southern and had the type of success that got him inducted into the Birmingham-Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.

Today, Jay is the head of racquet sports at Birmingham Country Club, where Jacob also works as a teaching professional. Jimmy, Jay, and Jacob

years?’ So we got to finish out my college career together.

Jay: At tournaments I would play the matches and then run off with friends, but dad was always going back to watch other players to figure out how they were playing to see how he could help me and others. He would use those trips as fun for us and part of our tennis journey but also to become a better coach.

OTMJ: Did Jimmy push tennis on you guys?

Jay: Jimmy did a good job with all four of us boys in keeping us well rounded. He insisted we try different sports. I credit our love of tennis for Jimmy not burning us out. One of Jimmy’s best quotes is ‘tennis is a marathon, not a sprint.’

Jacob: Ill piggyback off that. I saw tennis as a way to spend time with Dad. Being a tennis pro can be a time-consuming job, sometimes you work late into the night, and so I figured out at eight or nine that if I wanted to see dad, it meant tennis clinic.

OTMJ: Did you know you wanted to make tennis your profession?

Remember Dad’s Day June 16

Inspired by clean lines and smooth metal surfaces, these minimalist cufflinks in sterling silver and black mother of pearl are a great Father’s Day for a well dressed gentleman. David Yurman Streamline Cushion Cufflinks, $475. Bromberg’s Mountain Brook (205) 871-3276 The Summit (205) 969-1776

talked tennis and family one Tuesday in early June.

OTMJ: As the only one out of nine kids who did not attend (the University of Alabama,) did you feel left out?

Jimmy: I went to a DKE fraternity rush weekend while in high school and had a great time. But then I started thinking about it and realized that the whole time I was in Tuscaloosa nobody ever called me by my name. Three of my brothers were there at the time and people called me “Little Womack,” “Little Peanut,” or “Little Snidely,” and I realized I won’t even know who I am if I go to Tuscaloosa!

OTMJ: As a father and a coach, tell us about the differences in Jay and Jacob?

Jimmy: Jay and Jacob are both very good athletes, they just have different personalities. Jay is going to put his foot on your throat and crush you.

Jacob is a more feeling person, but as he went through college, he became a fierce competitor. His sophomore year we were playing Rhodes and we had sponsored a court in Marcia’s honor at BirminghamSouthern. He was playing on that court and down 4-1, so I sit down to talk to him and he turns to me and says, ‘I got this dad.’ He then won five straight games to win on mom’s court.

OTMJ: What was it like being coached by Jimmy?

Jacob: After my freshman year at Birmingham-Southern dad asked me one night, ‘What would you think if I became your coach?’ I said, ‘Dad, you’ve coached me since I was 9 years old, why not for three more

Jacob: After I played college tennis, I knew I didn’t want to work a desk job and I got to see how good dad and Jay were at teaching and how much they enjoyed it. I really enjoy it, too.

Jay: After 22 years straight of playing tennis and after college, a great guy and friend of Jimmy’s named Dave Oberman let me test the waters at Merrill Lynch. I started in March and by October I was looking out of the 20th floor window from the Wells Fargo building (now Shipt) and it was 75 degrees and beautiful outside and I called Jimmy and said. ‘Do you have a spot for me?’ He said, ‘Sure, come on.’

OTMJ: Who are the most famous players you have played?

Jay: Jimmy and I played Mike and Bob Bryan in an exhibition match in the convention center in Mobile.

Jimmy: We come out of the tunnel and we shake hands with the Bryan brothers and they kind of knew who (we) were and they asked, ‘Have you guys hit any balls?’ Before we could answer, the announcer said, ‘No warm ups!’ So here we are about to play the number one doubles partners in the word with no warm up.

Jay: So, Lefty Bob Bryan is serving to dad and dad likes to run around his backhand to return a forehand. Bob slices this serve in and Dad keeps trying to step around and the serve keeps spinning away from him and dad falls down. Before he can get up, Bob Bryan has jumped the net and sprinted over and picked dad up off the court and asking if he is OK.

Jimmy: So now the brothers are thinking they need to take it really easy on us. Then Jay hits a cannon serve and aces Mike Bryan. So at least they realized they had to try. They beat us 10-4 but we gave them a game.

Perfect for a bourbon/whiskey lover for Father’s Day. Glass bourbon decanter with wooden box, four glasses, rocks, and four coasters, $265. Complimentary engraving in-store June 14-15 (one complimentary engraving with the purchase of a set). The box can also be wood-engraved. Gus Mayer, (205) 870-3300

For the Dad that loves to cook, Cole & Mason salt & pepper mills. Comes in three finishes — copper, wood, and stainless steel. All are adjustable: fine, medium or course and easy to fill. $100 for the set. The Cook Store, (205) 879-5277

Journal photo by Jordan Wald 8 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE


Since its launch in 1924, Montblanc’s Meisterstück has been widely regarded as the quintessential fine writing instrument, symbolizing refined taste and a bold extension of oneself. This jubilee edition is decorated with a special cap ring showing the years 1924 and 2024. Barton-Clay Fine Jewelers, (205) 871-7060

Accentuate both Dad’s style and his lifestyle with the hats that prioritize comfort and performance.

Tasc Performance, (659) 599-9240


For the Dad who knows his way around the great outdoors or just likes to be prepared for anything. New and antique knives are a great gift idea. Attic Antiques, (205) 991-6887

Pop likes his popcorn and Poppy Hand-Crafted Popcorn is the most flavorful he’ll ever have. Christine’s on Canterbury, (205) 871-8297

This all-in-one men’s cleansing treatment contains energizing extracts of yuzu, edelweiss, and vetiver for a stimulating clean, deep exfoliation, amplified hydration, and increased circulation. Marguerite’s Conceits, (205) 879-2730

Dad can watch birds feeding from his backyard using his smartphone from anywhere in the world! With BirdReel, you can capture the beauty of bird watching 24x7. Wild Birds Unlimited, (205) 823-6500

The legend is back. The Traxxas Bronco combines Ford-approved realism and class-leading performance any Dad will appreciate. Homewood Toy & Hobby, (205) 879-3986

better way to say your

Dad will love these platinum and 18 Kt gold equestrian estate

they are works of art,

The Traxxas Blast™ is engineered to be


fast, reliable,
run times
day fun! To: From: Date: issue. Father's Day! HAPPY
The installed water cooling system for the motor helps keeps the Blast cool for longer
and all
“Karweldel, Alps” by Herbert August Uerpmann (1911-1996) oil on canvas 27”x 31” $690. Griffith Art Gallery, (205) 985-7969 A fun and functional dive watch, the CITIZEN Promaster Diver is powered by light, never needs a battery. Shay’s Jewelers, (205) 978-5880 From the Bulova Marine Star Collection, this bold timepiece makes a striking style statement with rich details, $625. Southeastern Jewelers, (205) cufflinks, $950. JB & Co, (205) 478-0455 What Dad can do it all. Multi-purpose knives for multi-tasking Dads. Vintage Interiors, (205) 620-1900

Daughter Drove Decision to Choose Birmingham

From Bombings to Prison Riots: Vestavia Mayor Reflects on 23-Year FBI Career

Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley C. Curry recalls being an up-and-coming FBI agent more than 40 years ago in Tampa, Florida, when he could have had his pick of assignments anywhere in the country.

That he chose a transfer to Birmingham was at the recommendation of doctors at Tampa’s Shriners Hospital – one of a network of nationally renowned children’s orthopedic medical centers. Curry’s daughter, a baby at the time, was born with a genetic bone disease and the doctors at Shriners told him there was only one place for her to receive the specialized medical care she required: Birmingham.

While Curry’s new assignment as a special agent was in what’s considered a smaller division office by FBI standards, during his tenure in Birmingham, from 1980-2003, he and his fellow agents ended up working on some of the highest-profile federal criminal cases in the Southeast, he told an audience

at his June 4 presentation, “My Time in the FBI.”

In his talk, held at the Vestavia Civic Center and sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, known as OLLI, at the University of Alabama Greater Birmingham Chapter, the mayor covered a range of cases he has worked, including several that grabbed national headlines.

Atlanta Federal Prison Riot

Curry’s daughter, a baby at the time, was born with a genetic bone disease and the doctors at Shriners told him there was only one place for her to receive the specialized medical care she required: Birmingham.

In 1987, the U.S. State Department worked out a deal with Cuban authorities to repatriate 2,500 incarcerated Cubans who had left their country during the Mariel boatlift. The prisoners were either undocumented or had committed crimes and didn’t want to return – so much so that they staged a bloody riot and took dozens of hostages.

Agents knew the rioters had guns, Molotov cocktails and other weapons, and the prisoners had started a fire that spread and ended up destroying the prison. Curry said he and other


Time for chrisTmas!

FBI agents were outfitted with flame retardant gear in case they were ordered to retake the prison.

After 11 days of negotiations the crisis ended and the hostages were released.

Murder of Judge Robert Vance

In mid-December 1989, Curry and other agents were at an FBI Christmas party when, one by one, their pagers started beeping. They soon learned why: federal Judge Robert Vance had been killed instantly and his wife, Helen, seriously injured when the judge opened a mailed package containing a bomb in their Mountain Brook home.

“I had never seen devastation like that,” Curry said.

Clues found at the scene included a Newnan, Georgia, postmark on a piece of the package, he added.

Two days later, Alanta civil rights lawyer Robert Robinson was killed by a mail bomb and two other mail bombs were sent but intercepted before they were opened. These incidents yielded more clues analyzed by the FBI lab and other authorities in an extensive investigation that eventually lead to the arrest of the man responsible, Walter Leroy Moody, Curry said.

Moody was convicted in federal court and sentenced to life; he was later convicted of Vance’s murder in state court and sentenced to death. He was executed in 2018.

Talladega Prison Riot

In 1991, four years after the Atlanta prison riots, Cuban detainees unwilling to be deported rioted and took nine hostages at the Talladega Federal Correctional Institute. Federal authorities assembled SWAT and hostage rescue teams, which entered the building.


From Page One

had, account for 30.6% of all brain tumors among adolescents, and the high-grade gliomas such as Braxton’s cause the greatest proportion of death, at 44.2%.

According to the Mayo Clinic, glioblastoma is a type of cancer that starts as a growth of cells in the brain or spinal cord. It grows quickly and can invade and destroy healthy tissue. There’s no cure for glioblastoma.

“It is a death sentence,” Weidman said. “It cannot be argued.”

Life-Changing Diagnosis

When Braxton was diagnosed, Weidman and his wife, a nurse practitioner, knew immediately what it meant.

“My wife and I have worked in medicine and science for years,” Weidman said. “As soon as we saw the scan, the imaging, we knew what the scenario was and that our lives would not be the same, and that the journey

“Would you believe when it was over … the hostages were out in less than two minutes?” Curry asked.

At the same time, law enforcement agents inside the prison heard “bang, bang, bang” noises.

“We couldn’t figure out where the bang, bang, bang was coming from,” Curry said. They soon did.

“It was the Cubans running back to their jail cells, slamming the doors,” shut, he said.

Birmingham Abortion Clinic Bombing

Eric Robert Rudolph became notorious in Birmingham following the January 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic on the city’s Southside that killed an off-duty police officer and seriously injured a nurse. He later was identified as the person responsible for a series of bombings in the Southeast during the 1990s, including the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

FBI agents were among the multitude of law enforcement officials

we were going to be on was unique from other parents.”

Throughout Braxton’s cancer treatments and since his death, the Weidmans, who live in Greystone Farms, have received an outpouring of support.

“The entire Over the Mountain community has supported us,” Weidman said. “They know our family since I grew up in Hoover.”

Braxton died a month-and-a half before his 10th birthday. For both parents, it was heartbreaking.

“It was more like disbelief for me cause Braxton was my buddy,” Weidman said.

Weidman takes comfort in seeing Case and Lyla grow up. He speaks proudly about them.

“Case is a sophomore at Spain Park,” he said. “He’s an accomplished baseball player. He and his brother were very competitive. Case is a pitcher and second baseman, the same positions Braxton played. Case has a girlfriend on the volleyball team. He’s a solid, good-looking kid.

involved in the investigation and subsequent manhunt for Rudolph.

Investigators had a partial license plate for the pickup truck suspected of being involved in the Birmingham crime and got the rest of the plate number after a woman called in with a tip.

Curry interviewed her. She said she was driving on Interstate 59 when she flipped off the driver of a Toyota pickup truck with North Carolina plates who’d tried to pass her car. The driver of the truck looked at her with no reaction but a stare that the woman said, “just sent chills up my spine,” Curry recalled.

The witness got the plate number, which helped police find it parked at a trailhead in Murphy, North Carolina. Rudolph hid out in the mountains he knew well and was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. It took law enforcement five years to capture him. He was caught rummaging in a dumpster outside a Murphy supermarket.

He pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the bombings and is serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole, according to the FBI’s website

Levity Helps Balance the Pressure

As Curry shared his experiences, he noted pressure comes with a career in law enforcement.

“If you don’t have a sense of humor in law enforcement, you won’t survive because there’s just too much negative stuff all the time. Jocularity, so to speak, goes a long way in relieving” the stress, Curry said.

Lighthearted moments can come at the most unexpected time. He recounted the time when agents were serving a search warrant at a suspected drug house in Birmingham and a neighbor asked what was going on. They told her why they were there.

“If you want drugs you’ve got to go next door,” she responded.

“Lyla plays travel soccer. She’s all over the Southeast, playing soccer. She’s got quite the personality, with blond hair and blue eyes. She’s going into the fifth grade at Greystone Elementary.”

Father’s Day is the day before the Tee It Up Fore Life golf tournament, and this will be the third Father’s Day since Braxton’s death. But Weidman is not marking the occasion in any special way.

“To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember my first Father’s Day without him,” Weidman said. “I’m not much of a birthday or holiday guy, except for the birth of my children, the birth of the nation and Christmas.

“I don’t recall how I felt that day. I’m sure I was melancholy, but every day I can have a moment where I miss Braxton.

“I don’t think there’s even such a thing as closure. My wife experiences some anger. She’s still sad. It’s different for her as a momma ‘cause she carried him. I don’t think a father cares any less. It’s just different.”

Journal photo by Anne Ruisi
10 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE
330 Rele Street | Mountain Brook Village 205.871.7060 | bartonclay.com
Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley C. Curry was with the FBI from 1980-2023.

O’Neal Comprehensive


Center Presented

With $1M Gift From ArtBlink

The ArtBlink Gala raised more than $1 million this year to support the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB and its mission to advance cancer research and treatment.

The gala is the annual fundraising event for the center’s advisory board and this year contributed $1,083,023 to the center for its work, according to a statement from the board.

It’s known for having artists create pieces during the gala as attendees watch. This year the gala honored Allene and Foots Parnell for their dedication to the fight against cancer.

Laura McDonald, president of the advisory board, and other board officers recently presented the donation to Dr. Barry Sleckman, director of the center, and he emphasized the pivotal role such contributions play in advancing research.

King’s Home Collections

King’s Home Collections is a beautiful retail store on Highway 280 in Chelsea that features Prodigal Pottery, restored furniture, and special gifts created by the youth and women at King’s Home. King’s Home Collections supports the mission of King’s Home by providing jobs and job training to the women and youth living at King’s Home.

“Daily, our adult women residents engage in the restoration, refinishing, and repainting of donated furniture, contributing to the offerings of King’s Home Collections,” said store manager Samantha Courtney. “Moreover, our teenagers gain valuable retail experience through part-time work at the store after school and on Saturdays. At Prodigal Pottery, our adult women residents are employed in crafting exquisite, handmade pottery.”

• King’s Home Pottery (Prodigal Pottery) Handmade pottery created by women fleeing homelessness, domestic abuse, and sex trafficking

working to employ, equip and empower women in need. Prodigal Pottery is a job-training program at King’s Home in Chelsea, AL. Pottery is sold online and at King’s Home Collections.

• King’s Home Furniture Restoration Program Pprovides employment opportunities and job training in both retail and furniture restoration. Donated furniture is refinished or hand-painted by women living at King’s Home, and then sold at King’s Home Collections.

• King’s Home Garden King’s Home Garden is a therapeutic program for youth living at King’s Home. The garden produces plants, herbs, homemade jellies, fresh farm eggs and flowers in season, and handmade woodwork by King’s Home youth. These products are featured in King’s Home Collections.

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 11 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL LIFE Call for a free in home design consultation and estimate 205-551-9061 www.closetsbydesign.com Call for a free in home design consultation and estimate 1-888-500-9230 closetsbydesign.com Locally owned and operated! 2024 © All Rights Reserved. Closets by Design, Inc. Closets byDesign® Imagine your home, totally organized! Custom Closets Garage Cabinets Home Offices Wall Beds Pantries Laundries Wall Units Hobby Rooms Garage Flooring Media Centers OTMJ 40% Off Plus Free Installation Terms and Conditions: 40% off any order of $1000 or more or 30% off any order of $700-$1000 on any complete unit order of custom closet, garage, or home office, and any other products. Take an additional 15% off on any complete unit order. Not valid with any other offer. Free installation with any unit order of $850 or more. With incoming order, at time of purchase only. Expires 3/10/24. Offer not valid in all regions. SPECIAL FINANCING FOR 18 MONTHS! With approved credit. Call or ask your Designer for details. Not available in all areas. Follow us AN EXTRA PLUS TAKE 15% Off Locally Owned and Operated. Licensed and Insured.
King’s Home Collections is located at 110 Chelsea Corners Way, Chelsea, (205) 618-9239
Proceeds raised during ArtBlink were presented to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. From left, Jay Ezelle, Foots Parnell, Laura McDonald, Tommy Brigham, Leigh Davis, Gaines Livingston and Dr. Barry Sleckman, center director. Journal photo by Jordan Wald


Dinner and Dancing Highlight Ballet Guild’s 64th Annual Ball of Roses

Sixty young women were presented during the 64th annual Ball of Roses on June 1 at the Country Club of Birmingham.

Guests entered the ballroom to be greeted by a backdrop of coral, pink, green and white florals designed by Carole Sullivan. Satin pointe shoes were placed among the floral designs as well as a moss ballerina covered in roses. There were pale green trellises and a center wreath with roses hanging from it surrounded by twinkling lights.

The evening began with the debut of this year’s presentees in a seated dinner for members and guests of the Men’s Committee, patrons of the Ballet Guild of Birmingham. The event continued with a formal presentation, followed by an evening of dancing for guild members and family and friends of the presentees.

Elizabeth Ann Williams Sparks served as the 2024 Ball of Roses chairman, with Rebecca Crowther Stump serving as cochairman.

Callen Clyce Whatley and Patricia Stutts Harper planned the Men’s Committee Dinner.

Jackie Bell Hollingsworth and Emily Eagan Cutt served as greenery chairs, coordinating the gathering of greenery from the private gardens of donor homeowners around Mountain Brook and the greater Birmingham area.

Brooke Drinkard Whatley is the guild’s 2024 president.

Among those in attendance were Mr. and Mrs. Turner Butler Williams Sr., Mr. and Mrs. William Dean Drinkard, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hardy Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wright III, Mr. and Mrs. Reaves Monroe Crabtree, Mr. and

Mrs. T. Robert Bentley III, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Patrick Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Robert Hodges, Dr. and Mrs. John Caffey Foster and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wade Loveman. ❖

12 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
Photos by RD Moore Butler and Elizabeth Sparks, Brooke and Nick Whatley Mary Ruth Caldwell, Caldwell, Lisa and Mary Tynes Flake Grace and Bob Bentley Jeff, Mary Winston, Mary Margaret and John Hendry Olivia Richie, Lelia Ritter Melissa, Francis and Cobb Hagen

Musical Support

More than 40 symphonic fans recently gathered at Aldridge Gardens to celebrate new and returning leaders for the Symphony Volunteer Council.

The reception also welcomed experienced and new volunteers gathered to support the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Rosemarie Kramer, who returns as president of the council, presented a check for $22,000 to Kimberly King, vice president of development for the Alabama Symphony. The check brings the SVC’s total donation to $32,000 for 2024.

Kramer has pledged to begin a new fundraising event to support the symphony and its educational outreach programs. In the past, the council’s main support project has been the Decorators’ Showhouse.

“Birmingham is so fortunate to have a world class symphonic orchestra. It is one of the attractions for people interested in moving here and enhances the lives of everyone who lives here by bringing culture to our community, Kramer said.

During the reception, past President Michael Meeks awarded

Kramer with a signatory pin to celebrate her first year as president and she installed the 2024-2025 officers.

Other officers are: President-elect Verna Gates, Treasurer Angela Asher, Assistant Treasurer Paula

Verdu, Recording Secretary Vic Thompson, Corresponding Secretary Terry Standridge, Membership Vice President Rebecca Blythe, and education vice presidents Linda Griggs and Mary Jo Ghory. ❖

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 13 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
June 27th - July 20th STOREWIDE SALE 20%-75% OFF 25% OFF LINENS See store for details JULY 4TH & BASTILLE DAY SALE 2404 Canterbury Road • Mountain Brook Village 205-871-8297 Christine’s Canterburyon Canterbury road Mtn. brook Village 205.879.2730 Summer Linen Sale! July 8 - July 20
SVC Donates to Symphony,
Names New Officers
Rebecca Blythe, Debbie Kristofco, Verna Gates, Michael Meeks Courtesy Verna Gates , Rosemarie Kramer Jan Service, Nan Teninbaum

Boho Chic

S’mores & Pours Event Returns to Support BridgeWays

The 12th annual S’mores & Pours went boho chic at Avondale Brewing Company on May 30 to benefit BridgeWays.

Hosted by the BridgeWays junior board, the event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people learn how to “care, connect and contribute.” It delivers programs to more than 60 schools and provides programs and services at Camp Fletcher in southwest Jefferson County.

The party offered food from Taco Mama, raffles, vendors, pop-up shops from local businesses, local artists showcasing their works, children’s activities, two Avondale brews for the over 21s and soft drinks.

Live music was provided by T.U.B., the UnKnamed Band. For those brave enough, there was a mechanical bull to a ride. ❖

Magic Moments

There was plenty of fun on the menu when Magic Moments celebrated its 40th anniversary on May 5.

Veterans Park in Hoover was transformed into Party Central at the family-friendly event. People who’ve been part of Magic Moments were invited to attend the event. Guests had inflatables, entertainment and carnival snacks to entertain them.

Magic Moments was established in 1984 to bring joy and happiness to children in Alabama with chronic lifethreatening or acute life-altering medical conditions. ❖

14 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Journal photos by Jordan Wald
Maggie Miller, Grace Baker
Wish-Granting Agency Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Kelly Morrison, Sandy Naramore, Lisa Settembrino, Ron Morrison Rachel Rounsaville, Kristen and Adam Snable Marshall and Sarah Griffin Mike and Debbie White Patti Bromberg, Thomas Henry Rebecca and Greta Swearingen Savannah and Addy Goodlett Carlisle McCullough, Millie Piggott, Katie Lupton Gamble Jim and Knox Meloni

The General Sumter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution met at the Country Club of Birmingham on May 1.

Regent Ellen Tucker called the meeting to order. Newly elected officers were installed by Alabama State First Vice Regent Malinda Williams. New officers for the 20242026 term are Judy Anderson, regent; Cheri Sanders, first vice regent; Cathy Boardman, second vice regent; Sheryl Buckner, chaplain; Karen Kapp, recording secretary; Amy Houston, corresponding secretary; Powell Owens, treasurer; Alleen Cater, assistant treasurer; Cindy Speake, registrar; Rebekah Taylor, assistant registrar; Bernadine Estes, historian; Karen Saunders, librarian; Kathryn Porter, parliamentarian.

Tucker presented the General

Sumter gavel and regent pin to Anderson, as incoming regent. Tucker was honored with a gift of appreciation from Becky Keyes, the chapter’s first vice regent.

Emily Blount presented the program, “William Pullen, Revolutionary War Patriot, Reinterment and Grave Marking by General Sumter Chapter.”

The chapter partnered with Better Basics, an Alabama nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of childhood reading and math skills. Volunteers read books to classroom students and each student received a copy of the book. The DAR members helped students get excited about adventures in reading. ❖

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 15 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
Courtesy To: Dean From: Over The Mountain Journal, phone 205-823-9646 Date: June 2024 This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the June 13, 2024 issue. Please email approval or changes. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Thank you for your prompt attention. 2838 PELHAM PKWY 205-620-1900 VINTAGEINTERIORSAL.COM Vintage Interiors Antiques & Vintage Wares for the Home & Garden To: Jim From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 Date: May 2015 This is your AD PrOOF from the OvEr THE MOuNTAiN JOurNAl for the Nov. 4 2010 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. f 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. Bluff Park WindoW Works Call 205-542-6094 LocaLLy owned and operated f Wood window restoration and repair f Sash replacement, rot repair f Replace broken and fogged glass f Wood insulated, putty glazed, and composite vinyl replacement sashes • COOLING • HEATING • PLUMBING • GENERATORS • MAINTENANCE PLANS • EASY PAYMENT PLANS OR SCAN HERE TO SCHEDULE OR SCAN HERE TO SCHEDULE (205) 295-6395 CallStandard.com AL LIC#14134 (205) 295-6395 CallStandard.com AL LIC#14134 TRUST THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE SINCE 1939 SINCE 1939 Saturday, June 2 2 - 10 a.m. 1. Grab a Bag 2. Search the Bins 3. Stuff as much as you can 4. Pay $25 *Buy as many bags as you like, No Limit!* Find us online secondhandroseal.com Passing on the Baton General Sumter DAR Chapter Anoints New Officers Judy Anderson, Ellen Tucker

Mary Charles' Doll House Dolls, Doll Houses and Minatures

Mary Charles’ Doll House

New, Collectible Antique Dolls

1901 Oxmoor Rd. 205-870-5544

2820 Petticoat Lane Mtn. Brook Village 870-5544 COME SEE US IN HOMEWOOD!

Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm

Open Thur. - Sat. 10am - 4:30pm

on canvas by Maya Eventov

Immediate Past President Kay Clark, Corresponding Secretary Ellen Tucker, Recording Secretary Jean Hendrickson, Treasurer Rebecca Mason, President Dottie Hoover, First Vice President Carolyn Delk, Historian Marsha Duell, Second Vice President Annalisa Jager, Parliamentarian Jeanna Westmoreland.

Memories of Years Gone By

Mary Charles Robbins Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax May 2010

Charles the Mountain Journal 823-9646 ph, 824-1246 fax 2018

Antiquarian Society Recognizes Long-Serving Members, New Officers

The Antiquarian Society of Birmingham recognized long-serving members from the 1980s and ‘90s during its May meeting, held at The Country Club of Birmingham.

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the June 3, 2010 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

Acrylic by Maya Eventov

ing the event, hosted by Amy Tully and Nancy Jones, was the installation of the newly elected officers.

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

President Kay Clark announced each of these members, and those present had an opportunity to share a favored remembrance.

ad proof for the OTMJ for the November 15, 2018issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to approve your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changes to 824-1246. 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.

109 Hilltop Business Drive Pelham www.GriffithArtGallery.com 205.985.7969

Members and associate members recognized were Martha Bartlett, Mary Alice Carmichael, Carolyn Drennen, Jan Elliott, Betty Northen, Helen Pittman, Mary Carol Smith, Carole Thomas, Jean

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. Thank you for your prompt attention.

Parliamentarian Jeanna Westmoreland rang a brass bell to call each of the new officers to serve. For 2024-2025, the new officers are President Dottie Hoover, First Vice President Carolyn Delk, Second Vice President Annalisa Jager, Recording Secretary Jean Hendrickson, Corresponding Secretary Ellen Tucker, Treasurer Rebecca Mason, Historian Marsh Duell and immediate past President Kay Clark.

Bartlett, Emily Blount, Redonda Broom, Ellen Broome, Stephanie Byrne, Kirke Cater, Elaine Clark, Kay Clark, Paula Cox, Martha Lee Culp, Naomi Cunningham, Susan Dasher, Carolyn Delk, Lesley DeRamus, Cece Dillard, Carolyn Drennen, Marsha Duell, Fran Fendley, Marjorie Forney and Joann Fox.

Aso attending were Claire Goodhew, Kay Grayson, Annie Green, Jean Hendrickson, Vera Henley, Sandra Holley, Dottie Hoover, Sara Jackson, Annalisa

Mason, Mary Jean Myers, Betty Northen, Jeannie Pate, Meridith Peeples, Beverly Phillips, Helen Pittman, Gail Pugh, Lucianne Pugh, Natasha Randolph and Carla Roberson.

Also attending were Donald Roth, Kathleen Roth, Phyllis Russell, Ann Sanders, Carolyn Satterfield, Nan Skier, Jan Smith, Linda Stewart, Rhetta Tatum, Rebekah Taylor, Nan Teninbaum, Nancy Terrell, Ellen Tucker, Amy Tully, Diana Turnipseed, Sarah van Os, Barbara Wall, Elizabeth Wallace, Laura Wallace, Liz Warren, Jeanna Westmoreland, Lynda Whitney, Margie Williams, Lee Woehle and Kay Wooten.

In the little moments and major milestones of childhood, we are here for our patients and their families – helping, healing, teaching and discovering.

16 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL Childrens AL •org
Brand_HERE_BabyHand_OTMJ_10.375x6.25.indd 1 11/29/22 5:10 PM

Members of the Carousels Dance Club met at the Country Club of Birmingham on May 9 for a luncheon to celebrate 60 years since the club was founded.

beginnings and welcomed new mem bers representing the younger genera

Virginia Gross, Augusta Forbes, Mary Alice Carmichael, Sharon Hydinger Vines

tion. Some of the newcomers are the daughters of original members, while others are former members who wanted to be reinstated.

New members at the luncheon included Jane Hamn, Patsy Porter, Charlsie Hand, Marguerite McCade, Carolyn Mills, Tellis Porter Shoemaker and Sharon Hydinger Vines.

Dance club members attending were Lyn Ault, Barbara Baird, Mary Alice Carmichael, Martha Cheney, Adele Colvin, Bebe Costner, Sarah Creveling, Charlotte Donald, Bede


Immerse yourself in an engaging community infused with Southern hospitality and an appreciation for the City’s historic charm. At The Crossings at Riverchase, everyday life becomes exceptional with meaningful friendships, gourmet dining, wellnessfocused programming and much more. You’ll find bright, well-appointed spaces around every corner, including a fitness center, creative arts studio, patio, pub and theater. Just a short drive to The Summit and Hwy 150 with nearby medical facilities, shopping, attractions and eateries that provide abundant choices to your everyday routine, you’ll feel instantly connected, comfortable and carefree at The Crossings.

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 17 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SOCIAL
ALF #D5986 | SCALF #P5928
Refreshingly Authentic Genuinely You. Imagine the possibilities. or visit Every day is yours live inspired. To: Roman Brantley From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 Date: June This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the June 13, 2024 issue. Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Roman BRantley aRt &antiques, Gifts & DecoR 2790 BM Montgomery Street Homewood, AL Store Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, or by appointment 205.317.1258 WISHING EVERYONE A HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! We will be closed during the month of July! WILL REOPEN IN AUGUST WITH NEW INVENTORY! Forever Young Carousels Dance Club Welcomes New Members During 60th Anniversary GRACEFUL AGING FUNCTIONAL FITNESS TRAINING (601)597-2442 | sbrumfield@gaw.fitness gracefulagingbirmingham.com | @gracefulagingbham
SARAH BRUMFIELD, LPTA, CPT Owner & ISSA Certified Personal Trainer Specialized in Senior Fitness Training Over 17 years experience restoring safe independence for senior adults Graceful Aging provides in-home functional fitness training to improve quality of life for adults of all ages and functional levels. Our training programs assist adults in maintaining their independence and reducing risk of falls. Functional fitness programs are designed specifically for each client depending on their medical history, current functional level and personal goals. In each session, our clients receive one-one-one training to improve strength, endurance, balance and mobility in the comfort of their own home with all necessary equipment provided.
Give your mom the gift of longevity through preventative fitness training with Graceful Aging MAY SPECIAL • 15% OFF 3 SESSION STARTER PACK Our in-home functional fitness training improves strength, endurance, balance and flexibility to improve quality of life and reduce risk of falls. We provide one-on-one professional guidance with all equipment provided. Start your fitness journey today! AGE WITH GRACE, MOVE WITH CONFIDENCE. HOME FITNESS
Graceful Aging
in May


Garden Party Designs lives up to its name, and not just because it designs florals for weddings and other celebrations. For the trio of women who own it, their work often feels like a party of its own.

If co-owners Suzanne Graves, Jerri Minor and Melissa Mistrot are setting up flowers in front of the stage when the wedding band starts practicing, all the better; they have their own dance party while they work. They all love wedding cake, so it’s an extra exciting day if they are offered a slice, but they also get sweetness in their day when they catch a moment such as the bride doing a first look with her groom as they set up.

While the three of them are creating bouquets and arrangements, they’re also talking about their families and motherhood and what they are cooking for dinner.

“At the end of the day, we have been working all day, but we feel like we’ve been hanging out with our girlfriends,” Mistrot said.

Graves, Minor and Mistrot had all been working as freelance florists when they decided to start Garden Party Designs together in 2021.

Petal Parties

The Trio of Friends Behind Garden Party Designs Creates Florals – and Has Fun Doing It

Graves had been doing floral work for weddings for nearly 30 years before that; Mistrot had a background in marketing and social media from working in retail; and Minor had experience in accounting and tracking details.

See CREATIVE, page 20

‘At the end of the day, we have been working all day, but we feel like we’ve been hanging out with our girlfriends.’

Lauren Elliott Photography
18 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL
Garden Party Designs co-owners from left, Melissa Mistrot, Jerri Minor, Suzanne Graves. Top: Since bride Hanna Lawson’s family is from Sweden where Lily of the Valley grows abundantly, Garden Party Designs tucked the flower into her bouquet and her groom Sam’s boutineer. The couple grew up in Vestavia Hills and held their wedding reception at The Club.
Garden Party Designs
Lauren Elliott Photography

For nearly two centuries, Bromberg’s has remained the favorite destination for wedding gifts and registries in Alabama. As a seven generation family owned and operated business, we are proud to have served our community’s couples for 188 years.

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, but creating a wedding registry at Bromberg’s is an enjoyable and seamless process. Our online registry allows couples to curate their wish lists from the comfort of their home. However, nothing compares to the personalized service provided by our expert bridal consultants.

While creating their registry, couples will find our extensive selection of fine china, casual dinnerware, crystal, silver, home décor, and more. Our registry benefits include exclusive discounts for attendant and hostess gifts, 20% off wedding bands, and a free place setting with the purchase of seven.

Additionally, our renowned Gift Letter program is a favorite among our registered couples. For each gift purchased, a beautiful letter is mailed to the couple, informing them of the gift and sender along with a personal message. Our Gift Letters minimize returns and duplicate gifts for the couple, and, after the wedding, the couple can redeem the total value of the gift letters they received for anything they want in the store, allowing them to take advantage of special offers and seasonal sales.

With Bromberg’s unmatched selection and dedicated service, every couple is guided to create a registry that sets the stage for a lifetime of memories. If you’re tying the knot this year, we invite you to create a wedding registry at Bromberg’s!

Visit us in Mountain Brook, The Summit, or online at www.BrombergsBride.com.

When someone walks into your life and suddenly you can't remember how you ever lived without them...
Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 19 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL WEDDINGS 205.978.5880 I www.shaysjewelers.com FOLLOW US ON 1678 Montgomery Hwy • Hoover, AL 35216
Weddings at the Birmingham Museum of Art There is an art to creating the perfect wedding. Let us be your canvas. artsbma.org · 205.254.2681 plananevent@artsbma.org Image courtesy Eric & Jamie Photography

But, most notably, “We are all creative and love flowers and beautiful things,” Graves said.

There was a dream they shared that got them through some of the early days.

In moments on busy weekends when they were tired, they’d say to each other, “When are we going to Italy?” Through weddings and showers, Valentine’s Day pop-ups and homecoming dances, they’d keep asking each other, “When are we going to Italy?”

In April 2023, to Italy they went.

“We saw beautiful flowers and ginormous lemons and ate lots of food and gelato and drank lots of wine,” Mistrot said.

Now they’re asking each other what their next trip will be. At the moment, they are thinking Spain.

Seeking the Wow Factor

Often for their floral work, the partners select blooms from the gardens at Graves’ Homewood home –dahlias, hydrangeas, roses and such. The three of them find inspiration looking around what she is growing, and Mistrot said it could be its own flower shop.

“If you can cut something from the yard, it makes it that much more special,” Graves said.

For each wedding they do, Garden Party Designs tries to design at least

one element for the reception that has a “wow factor,” whether it be floral rings hanging from the ceiling or a special design around the cake table. They have even created a flower wall with pink roses at the Birmingham Museum of Art and decorated a large bell at Sloss Furnaces.

“Any time I am getting to use the creative side of my brain, it feeds my soul, and I feel happy,” Mistrot said.

To give each event the attention they think it deserves and make sure they still have time for their families, Garden Party Designs usually takes on only about 10 weddings a year plus some showers and other events. Usually brides or mothers of the bride find them through friends who have used Garden Party Designs for their own weddings.

Mistrot said she thinks brides are drawn to what sets their designs apart.

“We are willing to go outside the

box to find that perfect flower to go in an arrangement that you are not going to see at a flower store,”

Mistrot said.

Plus, the owners get extra excited to work with colorful flowers in weddings since whites and greens are so popular now, though they say they enjoy those designs, too. No two events the business takes on are the same, which keeps the work interesting and fun, the owners said.

“Every bride wants something different, so it’s fun to create their vision,” Graves said.

Each of the partners has kids who are overlapping ages in high school, college and young adulthood. Often, one of the kids is attending the company’s events as their friends are starting to marry.

No matter whose wedding they are designing florals for, their team dynamics are the same.

Graves is the peace and calm of the trio. Minor is the master of spreadsheets and pulls together design elements, always reminding her partners to “make it pretty!” And Mistrot handles social media and other aspects of the business.

“We feel like we are using the gifts we’ve been given,” Graves said. And they sure have a lot of fun doing it.

To learn more about Garden Party Designs, follow @gardenparty_ designs on Instagram.

20 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL WEDDINGS 5299 Valleydale Road, Suite 111 980-9030 southeasternjewelers.net (1/4 mile off 280) 2841 Cahaba Road Mtn. Brook Village • 879-5277 M-F 10-5 • Sat 10-4 www.thecookstoremtnbrook.com LUCY WANTS YOU TO COME IN AND REGISTER!
page 18
Left and above left: The Garden Party Designs team loved the mural wall at The Farrell in downtown Homewood and decided it would be the perfect backdrop for Anna Kate and Brandon Teal’s wedding cake. Above: Lawson wedding reception at The Club. Lauren Elliott Photography
Jana Musselwhite Photography
Jana Musselwhite Photography


Ms. Julianna Trammell Edwards announces the engagement of her daughter Dr. Elizabeth Baylee Edwards to Benjamin Conn Malone.

Dr. Edwards’ father was the late Sterling William Edwards. Both parents are from Birmingham.

Mr. Malone is the son of Dr. Kathryn Frances Dilworth and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Bryant Malone of Huntsville.

The wedding is planned for June 15, 2024, at the Montage at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Dr. Edwards is the granddaughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. Pat Trammell of Birmingham; Mrs. Gerald James Stautberg and the late Gerald James Stautberg of Monkton, Maryland, and the late

Leon Wyman Edwards of Birmingham.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and is a member of Delta, Delta, Delta Sorority. She received her doctorate of medicine from the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Edwards was presented at the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball, Ball of Roses and Redstone, and she is a member of the Debutante Club.

Mr. Malone is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Hal Conn Dilwoth Jr. of Corinth, Mississippi, and the late Mr. and Mrs Dwight Hayden Malone of Huntsville.

Mr. Malone is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

The bride is a resident at the University of South Carolina and the groom is a project manager at Michael Baker International.

To: Attic Antiques

From: Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246

Date: June


To have our wedding & engagement forms sent to you, please call 205-823-9646 or email: editorial@otmj.com

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 21 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL WEDDINGS Voted “Best Jeweler in Birmingham” JohnBromberg@JBandCoJewelry.com For Appointment: 205.478.0455 | JBandCoJewelry.com 2700 Culver Rd, Mountain Brook Village 205-870-9210 Walk-In’s Welcome! Tues. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | Sat., 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. TREADWELL BARBER SHOP —CAMERA READY— WEDDING ESSENTIAL GREAT HAIRCUT FOR THE GROOM AND GROOMSMAN!
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.
5620 Cahaba Valley Road 991-6887 Treat yourself to a trip to Attic Antiques
This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the June 16, 2022 issue. Please fax approval or
to 824-1246.


From page 24

of the Year in balloting by Over the Mountain baseball coaches.

“That’s pretty cool,” Blasche said. “I think I had a good year. As a team, we overcame a lot. I thought the challenges we faced were more important than the wins and losses.”

Hoover baseball coach Adam Moseley describes Blasche as a fivetool player.

“He’s a heck of a baseball player and he’s really good on the mound,” Moseley said. “He can hit for power and average, and he can run.

“He’s kind of a throwback. He doesn’t get too high or two low. He takes a consistent approach every day.”

Moseley also praised Blasche for the way he carries himself as a Christian athlete.

“He’s one of the strongest believers I’ve ever had as a coach,” Moseley said. “He lives his faith. I know coaches say it all the time, but he’s a better person than player. He’s just a special kid.”

Blasche is headed to Samford to play in college.

“I really felt connected to the coaches and I liked the campus and community at Samford,” Blasche said. “I thought it was the place I fit in best. Plus, I get to be back with two my former teammates from Hoover, Cade Carr and Will Lawrence.”

Samford coach Tony David is glad


From page 24

to advance to the Class 7A state tournament and finish with a 27-20 record. And it earned her the 2024 OTM Softball Player of the Year honor in balloting by Over the Mountain softball coaches.

“I’m very excited to be honored as player of the year,” Daniel said. “There are some great players who have gotten it before me, so it’s good to be in their company.”

Spain Park players have been voted OTM Softball Player of the Year each year since 2014, with the exception of 2020, when no player was chosen because the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season early.

Former Jags shortstop Katie Flannery, who just finished her freshman season at Oregon, received the honor in 2022 and 2023. Annabelle Widra, who’s now at Auburn after beginning her college career at Michigan, was a four-time recipient in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. She shared the 2017 honor with Spain Park teammate M.K. Tedder and the 2019 honor with Jags’ teammate Maddie Majors. Tedder was the choice in 2016 and the Jags’ M.K. Bonamy was the recipient in 2014 and 2015.

Spain Park coach Allyson Ritenour believes Daniel deserves to be in such elite company.

to add to his collection of Bucs.

“Mason continues our Hoover pipeline,” David said at the time of Blasche’s signing. “He will be a true two-way guy that will pitch and hit for us. He has real power at the plate and moves well enough to play the hot corner. Coach Moseley does a great job at Hoover High School with those guys.”

All-OTM Team

Blasche heads up the 2024 AllOTM Baseball Team. He is one of five Bucs voted to the team, joining sophomore shortstop Jaxson Wood, senior outfielder Camdyn Teague and pitchers Will Adams, a sophomore, and William Andre, a junior.

Wood, who has committed to Tennessee, batted .358 with 24 RBIs, 30 runs and 11 stolen bases; Teague, who is headed to Washington and Lee University, hit .315 with 13 stolen bases; Adams, who is committed to Alabama, posted a 6-4 record with a 2.38 ERA while recording 86 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings pitched; and Andre had a 5-2 record with a 2.15 ERA.

Mountain Brook, which reached the Class 6A quarterfinals and finished with a 30-8 record, also landed five players on the team: outfielders John Robicheaux and Hunter Keller, second baseman James Graphos and pitchers Caleb Barnett and Kenneth Diddell.

Robicheaux, who is headed to Samford, hit .427 with 33 RBIs and 16 stolen bases and posted a 7-3 record with 2.64 ERA on the mound; Graphos, who is headed to Shelton

“She’s a special player, very talented, and she works hard,” Ritenour said. “Each year she’s gotten better. She’s a great leader. She took her teammates under her wing and made sure they had high expectations and held them accountable.”

Daniel has been playing softball since she was a preschooler. She rode horses and played basketball for a while, but once she started teeball, she decided to focus solely on softball.

“I loved being able to compete and be part of a team,” Daniel said. “Plus, I get a nice feeling when I hit the ball on the sweet spot of the bat.”

State Community College, batted .372 with 12 doubles, 33 steals and 26 RBIs; Keller hit .336 with 22 steals; Barnett, who has committed to Alabama, was 7-0 with a sparkling 1.04 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched, and he hit .383 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs; and Diddell, who also is heading to Shelton State, had 11 saves to set the state record for career saves with 23, while posting a 1.33 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Spain Park, Homewood and John Carroll Catholic placed four players each on the team.

Representing Spain Park are first baseman James Battersby, catcher Coleman Gray, outfielder Matthew Widra, and pitcher CJ Gross. Battersby had 26 RBIs and 22 steals; Gray, who is headed to Snead State Community College, had a .496 OBP and 29 RBIs; Widra, who is going to South Alabama, hit four home runs and had 36 RBIs; Gross, who has committed to Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, went 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Representing Homewood are shortstop Levi Nickoli, utility player Jack Ross, outfielder Jeremiah Gary, and pitcher Cooper Sain. Nickoli, a sophomore shortstop/pitcher who is committed to Auburn, hit .299 with seven doubles, five home runs, 23 RBIs and 18 stolen bases, and he had five saves with a 1.59 ERA; Ross, who played first base, third base and pitched, hit .284 with nine doubles, six homers and 34 RBIs, and posted an 8-2 record with a 1.88 ERA; Gray, who is headed to Coastal Alabama Community

around her better with her passion to play. We are excited to bring her to Westwood from the state of Alabama.”

All-OTM Team

Daniel heads up the 2024 All-OTM Softball Team. She is joined by four of her Spain Park teammates: shortstop Charlee Bennett, outfielder Allie Whitaker, and pitchers Ella Ussery and Jaley Young.

‘The atmosphere at UCLA was great, like a family. The coaches are amazing. They made me feel wanted.’

Daniel is headed to UCLA to play in college, becoming the Bruins’ first signee from Alabama.

“The atmosphere at UCLA was great, like a family,” Daniel said. “The coaches are amazing. They made me feel wanted.”

UCLA head coach Kelly InouyePerez certainly was thrilled to land Daniel.

“Maggie Daniel is a clutch power hitter with high IQ behind the plate,” Inouye-Perez said when Daniel signed. “Maggie plays the game with high enthusiasm and makes everyone

College North, hit .351 with 16 stolen bases; and Sain was 6-0 with a 1.34 ERA.

Representing John Carroll are second baseman Jackson Miller, outfielder Aden Malpass, pitcher Noah Smith and designated hitter Carson McFadden. Miller, who is headed to Southern Union State Community College, hit .333 with 30 RBIs, 35 runs and 13 steals, and he made only one error; Malpass, who is going to Missouri, hit .391 with 26 RBIs and 22 steals; Smith, who also is headed to Southern Union, recorded 63 strikeouts in 39 innings and had a 2.80 ERA; and McFadden hit .436 with a .536 OBP, 31 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.

Vestavia Hills had three players selected to the team: catcher John Paul Head, outfielder William Tonsmeire, and pitcher Chase Rafferty. Head, who is going to UAB, hit .359 with a .500 OBP and a 1.051 OPS; Tonsmeire, who has committed to Southern Miss, hit .306 with 12 doubles and 18 steals; and Rafferty posted a 5-1 record with a 1.86 ERA.

Briarwood Christian and Oak Mountain have two players each on the team.

Third baseman Jake Souders and outfielder Jackson Barnes were selected from Briarwood.

Souders, who is headed to Samford, hit .408 with a .546 OBP and 1.222 OPS. Barnes, who is going to Brewton-Parker College, hit .357 with a .477 OBP and .877 OPS.

Pitcher Bryson Morman and utility player Kevin Jasinski were chosen

Southern Miss along with her sister Olivia, hit .500 with 77 hits and 41 RBIs; Davis, who is going to Alabama A&M, hit .413 with 62 hits and 29 stolen bases; Hanson had a .349 batting average; Olivia Christian posted a 21-3 record to lead the area in wins and had a 1.91 ERA and 100 strikeouts; Raines was 14-6 with a 1.38 ERA and 148 strikeouts.

from Oak Mountain. Morman, who is headed to Coastal Alabama South, had a 1.23 ERA, put together a streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings, recorded 64 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings and pitched two shutouts and a complete game no-hitter. Jasinski hit .280 with six doubles and four home runs.

Coach of the Year

Spain Park’s Will Smith was voted 2024 OTM Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Jaguars to a 26-13 record and a Class 7A playoff berth. They were eliminated in three games in the first round by Thompson, losing the deciding third game of the best-of-three series 13-12 on a walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning of the extra inning contest.

“He had a tremendous team in 2023 and lost almost everyone,” Oak Mountain coach Derek Irons said. “He took a nearly completely new team and had an incredible season with them. That’s directly attributable to great coaching.”

Smith appreciates the recognition.

“I think it’s a tremendous honor,” Smith said. “The biggest thing is it’s voted on by your peers, so to have them vote for me means the world to me.

“But it’s about the team more than it is about me. We had a young and inexperienced team, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was amazed by how quickly they jelled and how competitive they were. They did everything we asked and more. They played hard and played for each other.”

pitched; Spisto, who is headed to Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, hit .374 with 31 stolen bases; and Bragan, who has committed to Union University, had a .337 OBP, with two home runs and 18 RBIs, and had a .992 fielding percentage at catcher.

Bennett, who has committed to UAB, hit .354 with a .583 OBP, seven home runs, 41 runs scored and 30 stolen bases.

Whitaker belted seven homes and 11 doubles and drove in 35 runs; Ussery, who is going to North Alabama, won 11 games and struck out 145 batters in 131 1/3 innings pitched; and Young posted a 13-3 record with a 2.74 ERA.

Hoover, which reached the Class 7A state tournament, also placed five players on the team: shortstop Bella Foran, outfielders Hannah Christian and Ki Davis, third baseman Mollie Hanson, and pitchers Olivia Christian and Kaitlyn Raines.

Foran, who is headed to Florida Atlantic, hit .400 with 52 RBIs; Hannah Christian, who is headed to

Mountain Brook placed six players on the team: first baseman Emma Stearns, second baseman Claire Robinett, utility player Edith Kaplan, designated hitter Marianna Murray, and pitchers Annie Gregory and Marrison Kearse. Stearns drove in 30 runs and Robinette had a .530 OBP and 29 steals.

Oak Mountain had four players selected: outfielder Emma Hawkins, third baseman Alea Rye, catcher Anna DuBose and utility player Sheri Andrews. Hawkins, who is going to Montevallo, hit .405 with 49 hits and was 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts; Rye, who is going to Central Alabama Community College, hit .364 with 13 doubles and 37 RBIs; DuBose hit .423 and knocked in 28 runs; and Andrews hit .397 with 12 doubles, four home runs and 20 steals.

Vestavia Hills had three players voted to the team: pitcher Tait Davidson, second baseman Lucy Spisto and designated hitter E.J. Bragan. Davidson, who is going to UAB, posted a 15-8 record with a 1.32 ERA and 217 strikeouts in 122 innings

Homewood had two players make the team: outfielder Madison Letson and utility player Mia Gonzalez. Letson batted .500, scored 50 runs and had 13 steals. Gonzalez hit .467 with seven doubles, seven triples, four home runs and 45 RBIs.

Rounding out the team are Briarwood Christian first baseman Meredith Kellum and John Carroll Catholic outfielder Mallory Ogle. Kellum, who is headed to Auburn University-Montgomery, hit .485 with 10 home runs. Ogle, who is headed to Lipscomb University, hit .418

Coach of the Year

Hoover’s Trey Matlock was voted coach of the year after guiding the Bucs to a 40-10-1 record and a thirdplace finish in the Class 7A state tournament.

“It’s an honor,” Matlock said. “It’s 100 percent a team award. It’s good to be recognized, but the girls are responsible. They went out and played together and did what we asked of them.

“It was a successful season for us. I wish we could have gotten over the hump.”

22 • Thursday, June 13, 2024 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SPORTS

‘Surreal Experience’

and track state championship teams at Mountain Brook from 1988 to 1990. Her older sister Molly and older brother Denton also ran track for the Spartans recently, and she has a younger sister Caroline who runs and will be on the varsity track team next season. Her cousin Russell Galloway also ran track at Mountain Brook and in college at Birmingham-Southern.

Despite her family’s track tradition, it’s only in the past two years that Ashby Russell began to take it more seriously.

“Track was definitely not my best sport,” Russell said. “I enjoyed running, but at the time I also did volleyball. Track was always my extra sport to get me in shape for lacrosse. But now I’ve grown to love it as its own separate thing, and I’ve gotten to be around some insane runners like Lucy Benton and Mary Katherine Malone.”

also smart. She can see a play developing and immediately reacts.”

Russell, a rising senior, hopes to play lacrosse in college. Last weekend, she planned to visit Chapman University, an NCAA Division III program in Orange, California, for its prospects day.

“I don’t want to commit to a Division I school because the sport would take up all of my college life,” she said. “If I am able to play in college, I want it to be a Division III school or on a club team.”

During its season-ending banquet, the Mountain Brook High School girls lacrosse team handed out good-natured awards just for fun.

At the event last month, junior defender Ashby Russell received a paper plate that read: “Most Likely To Win Two State Championships in 48 Hours.”

“The awards are just inside jokes,” Russell said with a laugh.

But hers was slightly inaccurate. She won two state championships in a span of 24 hours — and in two different sports.

Russell helped the Spartans capture the AHSAA Class 6A girls outdoor track and field state championship May 2-4 in Gulf Shores and then helped the Mountain Brook girls win the state lacrosse championship on May 4 at Hoover’s Buccaneer Stadium.

“It was a surreal experience,” Russell said. “I feel so blessed. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates.”

boatload of energy for the lacrosse game,” Russell said.

Sufficiently reinvigorated, Russell spearheaded a strong defensive effort as the Spartans defeated Spain Park 23-7, outscoring the Jaguars 13-0 in the second half, to win their fourth consecutive state lacrosse crown and finish the season 15-0.

Russell began her remarkable feat that Friday by running a leg on the Spartans’ 4x800-meter relay team that finished first with a time of 9:25.51. The other members were Callie Kent, Georgia Jane Stuckey and Kennedy Hamilton.

“We ran really well,” Russell said. “To win gold in the 4x800 and win a personal title was great.”

Russell didn’t have much time to celebrate because that Saturday, Mountain Brook was taking on Spain Park in the lacrosse championship game. So, with the events she competed in complete and the final day of the state track meet mostly field events, she drove home from Gulf Shores Friday night.

“I knew I needed a good night of sleep because I was going to need a

“It was an unreal weekend,” Russell said. “I think it was just adrenalin. Afterward, I said to myself, ‘What have I done?’’’

Just as soon as the lacrosse game ended, Russell’s mother, Gretel, came over and told her the track team had just clinched the state championship for its third consecutive outdoor title.

“That was so cool,” Russell said. “The girls on the track team were celebrating winning the blue map (state championship trophy) and we were celebrating our (lacrosse) win at basically the same time.”

Family of Runners

Russell’s victory on the track wasn’t on the radar until recently, although she comes from a family of runners. Her dad, Stephen, was part of cross-country

Benton and Malone just graduated in May and will run in college, Benton at Baylor and Malone at Auburn.

Because of her increased interest in track, last summer the multi-talented, 5-foot-9 Russell decided to give up volleyball, the sport her mother played at Karns High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in college at Sewanee.

An athletic outside hitter and middle hitter, Ashby Russell helped Mountain Brook win Metro volleyball titles as an eighth grader and freshman. She played on the high school junior varsity as a sophomore and was pulled up to the varsity team at the end of the season.

“I had played volleyball for so long and loved it, but my plate was full with sports and my studies, so I had to take something off the plate and it was volleyball,” Russell said. “My mother was a little disappointed because she coached me when I started playing in the third grade, but she was cool with my decision.”

Lacrosse Is the First Love

Besides, lacrosse is Russell’s first love. She started playing in the fifth grade when her friend Emily Dean suggested it to her.

Almost immediately, Russell took to the game.

“I came to practice and fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s fast-paced, high energy and you’re always running. I love the team aspect of it, too. I’ve grown up playing lacrosse with some of these girls for six years.”

After trying out attacker and midfielder, Russell found her niche as a defender.

“I love defense,” she said. “It’s the reason I play lacrosse. There’s an art of defense. It definitely forces you to have a strong lacrosse IQ and to see the entire field.”

Russell has developed into a topnotch defender and was named firstteam All-State for the second time this spring.

“Ashby can stop anybody on the field,” Mountain Brook coach Tom Lewis said. “She’s athletic, but she’s

Thursday, June 13, 2024 • 23 OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL SPORTS Courtesy
Spartans’ Russell Wins 2 State Championships in 2 Sports in 2 Days BMW•MINI•MERCEDES •AUDI 205-403-4626 • MOMENTUMMOTORWORKS.COM BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI We Guarantee Your Satisfaction 2075 Old Montgomery Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35244 Riverchase • 1 block from Valleydale • 1 mile from I-65 "Amazing place and amazing people." "Great Team of folks and great service. I trust them completely!" See more reviews on our website! BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW • MINI • MERCEDES • AUDI • BMW Expert Service & Repair
Above, the Spartans’ 4x800-meter relay team, from left, Ashby Russell, Callie Kent, Kennedy Hamilton and Georgia Jane Stuckey. Russell, below, helped the Spartans capture the AHSAA Class 6A girls outdoor track and field state championship May 2-4 in Gulf Shores and then helped the Mountain Brook girls win the state lacrosse championship on May 4.



‘Surreal Experience’ Spartans’ Russell wins 2 state championships in 2 sports in 2 days Page 23

Maggie Daniel traveled to Spain following her graduation from Spain Park in May.

She spent time in Barcelona and a few other places.

“It was a fantastic trip and so much fun,” she said.

Putting in the Work

Spain Park’s Daniel Powers Her Way to OTM Softball Player of the Year Honor

When she got back, Daniel quickly returned to her lifelong passion – playing softball – and rejoined the Birmingham Thunderbolts, her club team. She is consumed with the game.

‘Heck of a Player’

Hoover’s Blasche Voted 2024 OTM Baseball Player of the Year

Mason Blasche didn’t approach his senior season on the Hoover baseball team with any statistical goals in mind.

“I just wanted to have fun playing baseball,” he said. “I wanted to improve on what I did last year, but I didn’t have any set amount of numbers I wanted to put up.”

A third baseman/pitcher, Blasche excelled at the plate and on the mound. He batted .392 with a 1.137 OPS. He had 19 extra-base hits (12 doubles, two triples, five home runs), 35 runs batted in, 33 runs scored and

“My senior trip was my break,” Daniel said. “I’ve got to put in work to continue to get better.”

Daniel, a 5-foot-8 catcher, was one of the top sluggers in the state throughout her career with the Jaguars. This spring she produced a .443 batting average with an eye-opening .613 onbase percentage and 1.584 OPS. She smacked 14 doubles and 14 home runs, giving her 47 homers for her career. She also drove in 37 runs, scored 47 and drew 42 walks.

Daniel’s brilliant season enabled Spain Park

See SOFTBALL, page 22


15 stolen bases. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthander also pitched 54 2/3 innings,

posting a 4-2 record with three saves, a 2.21 earned-run average and 53 strikeouts as he helped the Bucs reach

the Class 7A quarterfinals and finish with a 24-18 record while playing against a high level of competition.

For his performance, Blasche was voted the 2024 OTM Baseball Player

BASEBALL, page 22 Journal photo by Emil Wald MEMBERS OF THE 2024 ALL OTM SOFTBALL TEAM are, front row from left: Sheri Andrews, Oak Mountain; Alea Rye, Oak Mountain; Anna DuBose, Oak Mountain; Emma Hawkins, Oak Mountain; Kaitlyn Raines, Hoover; Bella Foran, Hoover; Claire Robinett, Mountain Brook and Annie Gregory, Mountain Brook. Middle: Lucy Spisto, Vestavia Hills; Charlee Bennett, Spain Park; Allie Whitaker, Spain Park; Jaley Young, Spain Park; Marrison Kearse, Mountain Brook; Emma Stearns, Mountain Brook; Edith Kaplan, Mountain Brook and Marianna Murray, Mountain Brook. Back: EJ Bragan, Vestavia Hills; Tait Davidson, Vestavia Hills; Maggie Daniel, Spain Park; Ella Ussery, Spain Park; Olivia Christian, Hoover; Ki Davis, Hoover; Mollie Hanson, Hoover; Hannah Christian, Hoover and Coach of the Year Trey Matlock, Hoover. Not pictured: Meredith Kellum, Briarwood; Mia Gonzalez, Homewood. MEMBERS OF THE 2024 ALL OTM BALLBASEBALL TEAM are, front row from left: Coleman Gray, Spain Park; Matthew Widra, Spain Park; CJ Gross, Spain Park; Bryson Morman, Oak Mountain; Kevin Jasinski, Oak Mountain and Carson McFadden, John Carroll Catholic. Middle: Hunter Keller, Mountain Brook; Jack Ross, Homewood; Jeremiah Gary, Homewood; Noah Smith, John Carroll Catholic; Aden Malpass, John Carroll Catholic and Jackson Miller, John Carroll Catholic. Back: Kenneth Diddell, Mountain Brook; James Graphos, Mountain Brook; Caleb Barnett, Mountain Brook; John Robicheaux, Mountain Brook; John Paul Head, Vestavia Hills; Chase Rafferty, Vestavia Hills and William Tonsmeire, Jr., Vestavia Hills. Not pictured: Jake Souders, Briarwood; Cooper Sain, Homewood; Mason Blasche, Wood, Camdyn Teague, Will Adams, William Andre, Hoover; James Battersby, Spain Park and Coach of the Year Will Smith, Spain Park. Journal photo by Emil Wald

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.