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After 30 years of studying and coaching successful entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed that the most successful tend to have four habits in common, and these are things you can and should put into practice yourself.  The first three are succinctly outlined in Optimize for Growth:  How to Scale Up Your Business, Your Network, and You, written by my friend, Jonathan B. Smith.  You really should get this book; it’s a quick read, and it will explain how these practices work in concert with one another, and inspire you to make them part of your standard M.O.

Here are the four most important things you can do to become a top entrepreneur:

1. Get your business on an OPERATING SYSTEM.
No, I’m not talking about software; I’m talking about what Coach Nick Saban would call his “Process.” It’s a human system of disciplines and practices that gets and keeps everyone “on the same page.”  My favorite system is EOS, of course, but there are others, and to make your business the best it can possibly be, you must have one and you must use it.  Having a common vocabulary, a common method of problem-solving, a common set of processes and practices, and a shared mission – all of which permeate every level of your organization – is essential to creating a culture of achievement and sustainable success in your company.

2. Join and actively participate in a business-focused PEER NETWORK.
Most entrepreneurs feel a certain sense of loneliness as leaders bearing a heavy responsibility for their companies, employees, and families. As the saying goes, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”  But members of peer groups tend not to feel so alone.  Spending time with others in the same situation, listening to one another’s experiences and sharing your own, helps you gain perspective, learn key skills, and solve problems.  I can’t count how many times a member of such a group has told me a story of how he had a perplexing problem weighing on his mind continually, and his peer group helped him find a solution in a single discussion.

Formalized programs include EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), Vistage, YPO (Young President’s Organization, WPO (Women’s President’s Organization), and even faith-based CEO Peer Groups like Truth@Work and Convene.  All of these require members to sign non-disclosure agreements, so they create a safe place to be open and honest about the challenges you’re facing.   Here is a handy article that will guide you in choosing a peer group that’s right for you.

I’ve used many coaches to help me learn the skills I needed to make breakthroughs in my career; life coaches, executive coaches, spiritual coaches, employment search coaches, and those who specialize in coaching sales, operations, finance, etc. Yes, I am a coach myself, which goes to show that even coaches need coaching!

Here’s an article that will help you start looking for a coach, but here’s one more key that is paramount to making coaching work for you:  no coach can ever take you farther than he has traveled himself.  Always look for coaches who have already achieved what you aspire to.  Once you reach that level, seek an even more accomplished coach to take you even higher.

4. Get yourself focused for TODAY.
Effective strategy execution always comes down to a choice, not only of what you will DO today or this week/month/quarter, but just as importantly, what you will NOT do; what you’ll say “no” to so you can say “yes” to other things that really matter.  EOS tools like the Vision/Traction Organizer™, Delegate and Elevate™, and the Clarity Break™help me eliminate distractive or less productive activities and keep my efforts razor-focused on the actions that will get me where I want to go.   For daily organization, I like the discipline that Stephen Covey popularized, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix Grid.

Think of a famous entrepreneur you admire.  I’ll guarantee you that person uses the resources and disciplines I’ve covered here.  It may seem like a lot to start with, but running a business is a big job in itself, and doing it better than everybody else requires the use of potent strategies like this, which in the end, make a big job a whole lot easier.

A recent article in the Washington Post talked about the millennials tendency to eschew their parent’s furniture and belongings.  It is the time of the great de-cluttering that everyone knew would come as the Baby Boom generation ages. 

However, the Boomer's  children are even less interested in their second hand furniture than expected. This has created a large second hand furniture market all across the United States.   This may due to a simply differences in taste which are magnified by the sheer size of the two demographics. But there is a thought that the Millennial generation is simply….into simple.  Thus less stuff.  And it's driving the cost of furniture down in the second hand market.

Regardless of the reasons, Birmingham, like most cities, is a bargain hunter’s dream.  Especially if you like dark wood furniture. Or if you want good quality wood furniture to update with paint ala Joanna Gaines (from HGTV’s  Fixer Upper) or for those who love the shabby chic look.

Craigslist’s Birmingham section is the most ubiquitous site for second hand furniture.  But a number of local trading sites have become go to spots for bargain hunters.

Facebook sites like Mountain Brook Trading, Vestavia Trading, Gardendale Online Yardsale and Hoover Trading fill member’s Facebook feeds with pictures of antique chairs, armoires and dining room suites at a fraction of the original prices.   These groups have  big membership.  Mountain Brook Trading has over 31,000 members, Vestavia Trading has almost 47,000.   Even a Hoover Trading dedicated to kid's clothes only has almost 5,000 members.

Consignment stores are also filled with furniture, ranging from the antique to the almost new.  Stores like Encore Resales and Classic Home Décor Consignment (both in Pelham)  offer used furniture in a showroom setting and perks like delivery.

Some furniture can be had for...free.  There are "free to whoever will pick up"  sites like Freecycle that have active groups in Birmingham.

It’s just interesting how the Baby Boomer generation continues to sway the overall fortunes of so many industries in the US as a function of their size. The furniture industry is no different.

The International Baccalaureate Program in Jefferson County has been enormously successful and is one the top rated programs in the country.  Next year the program will expand to include middle school students.  The deadline for applications is tomorrow, May, 20, 2016.

The temporary site for the middle grades program will be at the current  Pleasant Grove Middle School campus.  The school plans to find a more centrally located spot in the next three years.

Jefferson County will provide limited transportation similar to the hub routes currently used by JCIB.  Jefferson County is seeking the interest level of students who wish to apply to the middle grades program.

The program is still in the final stages of approval.   The administrators hope to have final approval for the program within the next several weeks.   JCIB was recently ranked first in Alabama and 8th in the U.S. in the 2016 Washington Post study of America's Most Challenging High Schools.  The program has also been rated in the top 10 of Best High School’s in America by Newsweek many times over the last decade.

Students will be notified regarding acceptance status by June 17, 2016.

For more information, click here.

A veteran Jefferson County School System educator who draws inspiration from teaching high school students and who values working with teachers in training because of the power to affect change is the 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year.

Dana Jacobson, who has taught English at Clay-Chalkville High School since 1999, will serve as the state’s ambassador for public education and the teaching profession throughout the upcoming school year. A graduate of Smith College and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jacobson automatically becomes Alabama’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.

“Teachers are visionaries who see that light at the end of the tunnel and find ways to help students get to that light,” said Jacobson, who, as the Alabama Teacher of the Year, hopes to motivate more people to enter the education field. “There’s nothing better than to see a student growing, and there’s no job to me more important than teaching because we pave the way for all sorts of possibilities for students.”

Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Philip Cleveland announced Jacobson was chosen to serve as the official spokesperson and representative for teachers in Alabama for the next year near the end of a celebration honoring the 12 semi-finalists and 4 finalists who were nominated for the coveted title. The awards ceremony is held annually in recognition of these teachers’ dedication to education in Alabama public schools.


Cleveland expressed his gratitude to all of the district finalists for their hard work, innovation and compassion, which he said are reflected daily in the accomplishments of their students. He said the honorees are not only role models for the students of Alabama, but for their peers as well.

Of Jacobson, Cleveland said, “Dana Jacobson exemplifies the ability of an educator to shape and change lives. She strives to connect with and engage each individual student who enters her classroom and, as such, has been able to provide meaningful, quality learning to tomorrow’s leaders.  We are proud to have Ms. Jacobson represent our state as the 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year.”

In addition to English, Jacobson teachers ACT Prep, Debate, Speech, Creative Writing, and History of Film, among other subjects. She designs classroom activities so that students can make connections and strives to model those characteristics she believes the world requires: an interest in learning and people; a validation of others, not just tolerance; a desire to solve problems; and a strong work ethic.

Clay-Chalkville High School Principal Michael Lee said Jacobson embodies those qualities and more: “On most days, Ms. Jacobson is the first teacher at school and the last to leave. She does not stop. She is a true giver to students, student teachers, and colleagues.”

Dawn Davis, a fourth-grade teacher at Montana Street Academic Magnet School in the Dothan City School System, is the 2016-2017 Alternate State Teacher of the Year.

The first among her siblings to go to a four-year college, Davis, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Elementary Education from Troy University, has spent most of her 20-plus years as an educator teaching in the Dothan City School System. She believes that while she cannot change the many circumstances from which her students come, she can change where they are going in life.

Davis aims to do so by creating a classroom environment where all children realize their worth and potential, which she accomplishes through planning, building a support team, encouraging risk-taking, and utilizing her student’s natural curiosity.

“My greatest rewards from teaching come in the form of a smile,” Davis said. “When you see a smile cross the face of a child, you know he/she is gaining in knowledge. I am not interested in perfecting students, but I am greatly determined to perfect my abilities to encourage goal-based mindsets so that all children can realize their worth and potential.”

The selection process for Alabama’s Teacher of the Year begins at the school system level. Each school system can nominate an elementary and secondary teacher at the district level. One elementary teacher and one secondary teacher are selected from each of the eight state Board of Education districts. A state selection committee selects 4 teachers from the 16 district finalists to be interviewed for the titles Alabama Teacher of the Year and Alternate State Teacher of the Year.


There are two Birminghams.

At least two.

The historical reason for our two Birminghams is known to most of us.  Our history of racial segregation and economic colonialism is pretty widely known.  The result of Birmingham operating under those conditions for nearly all of its first 100 years, has left people of good intentions trying to overcome a terrible legacy–a legacy of unprincipled abuse leads to a world of fear and doubt and mistrust.

How can any white man, in a suit, be trusted?

And, that was an undercurrent of the message that I heard at the open City Council meeting held March 17th on the issue of consideration of proposed changes to the Mayor-Council Act of 1955.  The meeting was called to address the political question.  The political question quickly devolved into one of racial politics pitting whites (always described as Republican plantation owners) against blacks (always, citizens of Birmingham). (Never mind that I and other white citizens of Birmingham were in attendance in support of the City Council.)

And, it got worse.  Those who would support efforts to strip the City Council of its current authorities are reinstituting slavery—and if they are black folk doing so, they are Uncle Toms carrying the water for their white masters.  It was said—with a straight face– that whites are moving back into Birmingham to take over the control of the City from African-Americans. (Never mind that even if there was a conspiracy to do just that, the numbers are so disproportionate that such could never happen in our lifetimes.)  Inflammatory language was used that rivals any racist comments made anywhere and anytime—including a description of some whites who are moving back into the East Lake area being—“you know–not the kind of whites that are good for the area.”

I found this appalling.  And what was also appalling is that I did not hear one (of the so many) pastor’s voice raised to decry the depiction of this being a racial issue as opposed to what it was—a raw political power play that should be defeated. Expecting rationality in the midst of this heated political issue though is probably irrational itself.

But, what was even more appalling than this?  There was the utter lack of involvement and engagement of white business leadership of the City in attendance.  To my eye, there was not one white so-called “business leader” nor one white non-profit leader in attendance.  The message heard loud and clear by Birmingham’s black residents by the total absence of such white leadership, was “it’s not our problem” and “we don’t care.”

So, what is the legacy of two Birminghams?

The legacy of two Birminghams can be summed up simply as this: all of the development in the City Center, Lakeview and Avondale, including Regions Park, Railroad Park, new condominiums, new restaurants, do not directly address the need for help for the neighborhoods of Birmingham suffering economic decline.  Such development only attracts white people to come to the City to play and in some cases to live.

Both the Council and the Mayor are between a rock and a hard place.  The residents vote them into their jobs, and the residents want attention paid to their neighborhood infrastructure.  But, the Council and the Mayor understand that the revenue to do anything meaningful in the neighborhoods is dependent upon the growth of the City Center and entertainment districts such as Avondale, Lakeview and Uptown.  That is, the ad valorem tax base in the neighborhoods alone cannot sustain needed neighborhood improvements. (In FY 2015, the Revenues for the City were budgeted to be $390 million of which only $23 million [less than 6%] were to come from ad valorem property taxes).  So, no growth in sales tax and license fees, means no money to fund neighborhood infrastructure improvement.

Regrettably, today when a politician tries to explain the economic facts of life, that politician becomes the enemy of those who live in needy neighborhoods.

The goal for 2017 should be to get voters to see the larger picture.  Baking a bigger and better pie will drive revenues to the City Budget, so that the serious problems of blight, flooding and crime and schools can be tackled.  Then, it is a matter of electing people—regardless of race– who don’t have a vested interest in the jobs and contracts to be let to do the work—but only have a vested interest in having the work truly, properly and meaningfully accomplished for the good of the City and the residents of Birmingham.

The answer to “There are two Birminghams” must be “We are all in this together.”  We are going to succeed together or we are going to fail separately and miserably.  My hope and prayer is that there are enough people of good will who will encourage our resident citizens to lay aside their mistrust and leave racism in the trash bin where it belongs.

Maury Shevin—passionate about the City of Birmingham–lives, works, thinks and plays on Birmingham’s Southside.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Maury Shevin.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.


It's a great week to live in Birmingham!  From funny hats to black tie to the famed Cahaba Lily, we have some of most special events of the year this week and weekend.


Do Dah Day

Do Dah Day grew out of an idea in 1979 and has raised almost $1.5 million since! The South’s craziest

parade kicks off at 11:01 a.m. on the streets of Highland Avenue in Birmingham’s Southside. Then, spend

the day in Caldwell and Rhodes Parks with friends, pets, arts & crafts, kid’s activities, and a lineup of

great bands. Oh yes, we have plenty of food and beverages, and collectible Do Dah Day t-shirts.

All proceeds benefit local animal charities.

If you want a chance to win a fabulous prize, sign up to compete in one of our PARADE CATEGORIES:

•Best Float

•Best Team

•Largest Pet

•Best Movie-Themed Pet or Pet/Human Group

•Best Dressed Pet

•Best Pet/Owner Look-Alike

Caldwell Park

26th Street South and Highland Avenue

Birmingham, AL 35205

Free admission for spectators and festival attendees.

Parade entry fees:

Fun Walker $5 per walker

Animal Prize $10 per animal per category

Teams $10 per person

Teams with Car $10 per person + $15 per car

Cars $15

Motorcycles $10

Floats $20

Political Team/Car/Float $50 per candidate

Parade at 11:01 a.m. The parade route follows Highland Ave. westbound, past Rushton & Rhodes parks

and ends at Caldwell Park.

Festival in the Caldwell and Rhodes Parks after the parade.

Individual Dates & Times: *

May 14, 2016: 11 am - 7 pm (Sat)


Cahaba Lily Walk

Please come with us to see the largest display of blooming Cahaba lilies in the world, acres and

acres of them spread out over the water in the river.  These lilies are a sight to behold!  In places,

it often looks like it has snowed on the river in May.

Well-behaved, properly supervised children age 7 and over welcome.

Optional dinner after.

The hike is about five miles round trip.  Rated easy.  Wear sturdy footwear you don’t mind

getting wet and dirty.  Old sneakers work well.  You’ll want to put on your river shoes so you

can walk out into the shallow parts of the river to stroll through and touch the lilies which grow

only in the water.  Bare feet, flip-flops, slip-ons and thin-soled “beach shoes” are not

acceptable!! You may wear your sturdy river shoes for the entire trip.  Please bring picnic lunch

and your drink.  Hiking poles are strongly recommended to provide additional stability when

wading in the river.

Depart 9:00 a.m. from the McDonald’s Galleria.

Info: Dan Frederick, 205-631- 4680 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


McDonald’s Galleria-1731 Montgomery Highway, Hoover, AL 35244. Parking lot behind the

McDonald’s Restaurant across U.S. 31 from the main entrance to the Riverchase Galleria

Shopping Mall.


Do you wish you had friends who share your active lifestyle and enjoyment of outdoor

activities?  Then become active with Southeastern Outings (SEO), a nonprofit organization

committed and created to serve people who enjoy being active in the outdoors.  The organization

plans, organizes and leads outings such as dayhikes, easy kayak and canoe trips, stream and

waterfall walks, bicycle rides, lake events and other fun activities to beautiful sites in our natural

environment.  From time to time we also sponsor potluck suppers and other socials.  All events

and activities of the group are open to the public.  Participating in SEO activities is a splendid,

simple way to make congenial new friends who enjoy the outdoors.



The organization currently has over 400 members.  We scheduled ninety-one events during

calendar year 2015 for an average of 8 fun events per month.  We enjoy the outdoors in all

seasons throughout the year.  Twenty-three people, on average, have participated in each outing

since January 1, 2016.

SEO does not charge for participation in any of its outings.  You do not have to be a member to

participate in one r two SEO activities.  Dues are only $10.  Please contact Dan Frederick,

President, 205-631- 4680, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to obtain three

free monthly newsletters with membership application and a complete description of all our

outdoor events.

Southeastern Outings now has a website.  Just go to seoutings.org to find announcements of all

our upcoming outings scheduled plus some brief, general information about Southeastern

Outings, a membership application and 1500 lovely photographs from several of our outings.

Thank you.

McDonald's Galleria is meeting place

1731 Montgomery Highway

Hoover , AL

May 14, 2016: 9 am (Sat)

Phone: 205-631- 4680


Flicks Among the Flowers

Birmingham Botanical Gardens
2612 Lane Park Road
Birmingham, AL 35223

May 18, 2016: 8 pm - 11 pm (Wed)


And one worth paying for….

38th Annual Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition, Gala Dinner &  Finals Concert

Presented by Opera Birmingham at Vestavia Hills Country Club

One of the most elegant evenings of the year in Birmingham.  Top operatic talent in a personal venue amid patrons dressed to the nines.

A truly special evening.  And if the tickets for the gala are a little steep, see the semi final competition at Hulsey Hall/UAB for $25 on Saturday starting at 10:30am instead of  Sunday for the gala.

At the gala and final competition, five outstanding finalists take the stage! Compare your picks with those of our savvy panel of three judges… Will your favorite win

the day?

(Ticket includes concert, cocktails and dinner. Reservations are required. Black tie optional.)

Vestavia Hills Country Club

400 Beaumont Drive

Birmingham, AL 35216

Admission Info:


May 15, 2016: 6 pm (Sun)



Birmingham area students won every section of the Alabama Letters About Literature contest.

Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing contest for students in grades four through 12, according to read.gov. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write a letter to the author about how the work affected their lives.

The letters are divided into three levels and are judged by each state affiliate for the national Center of the Book program. Level 1 is for students in grades 4-6; level 2 is for students in grades 7-8; and level 3 is for high school students. At each level, judges select a first-, second- and third-place state winner. The competition is sponsored by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliates.

The 2016 Alabama Letters About Literature winners are:

  • Level 1: Caileigh Moose of Highlands School, Birmingham, first place; Caroline Reddington of Highlands School, Birmingham second place; Jeana Strickland of Chelsea Middle School, Chelsea, third place.
  • Level 2: Lexie Fowler of Berry Middle School, Hoover, first place; Ella Russell of Liberty Park Middle School, Vestavia Hills second place; Hunter Grace Fairfax of Berry Middle School, Hoover, third place.
  • Level 3: Ariana Cherry of Wenonah College Writer’s Program, Wenonah High School, Birmingham, first place; Victoria Terry with the Wordsmiths Writing Program, Birmingham, second place; Juahmun Sturgeon of Wenonah College Writer’s Program, Wenonah High School, Birmingham, third place.

More than 50,000 letters nationwide were submitted in this year’s competition, said Donna Adcock, director of public relations for University Libraries and director of the Alabama Center for the Book. In Alabama, 429 letters were submitted: 252 in level 1, 102 in level 2 and 75 in level 3.

“We’ll have an awards ceremony for the winners, their families and the semifinalists,” Adcock said. “Parents, teachers are all invited. The semifinalists will receive certificates. First-place winners will receive $100 in cash prizes, second place $75 in cash prizes and third place $50 in cash prizes.”

In level 1, there were 42 semifinalists in Alabama, 20 semifinalists in level 2 and 27 semifinalists in level 3.

Jeff Weddle, associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at UA, will speak, Adcock said. Weddle’s stories, poems and essays have appeared in many print and online publications. His latest book is a short story collection, “When Giraffes Flew.” He won the Eudora Welty Prize for “Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press.”

The first-place winners in each state competition will be entered into a national competition where overall winners will be selected in each level. National winners in each competition level will receive $1,000.

The Alabama Center for the Book will honor state winners of the 23rd Letters About Literature competition during a ceremony  at 11 a.m Saturday, May 14, at The University of Alabama’s Gorgas Library, room 205.


The Birmingham Barons used a barrage of offense to open a five game series against the Jackson Generals with a 9-8 victory at Regions Field.


Outfielder Nick Basto delivered the decisive hit in his AA debut, scorching a 2-out RBI single into center field to give Birmingham their final lead. Eddy Alvarez led the Barons with a double and a triple, posting four RBIs as Birmingham broke their season-high record with 18 hits.


Keenyn Walker put the Barons on the board in the second inning, with Joey DeMichele adding Birmingham’s second run before Alvarez’s bases-clearing double turned an early 4-0 deficit into a quick 5-4 lead.


A pair of RBIs by Eudy Pina and Nicky Delmonico padded Birmingham’s lead to 7-4, with Alvarez plating Jeremy Dowdy on a sixth inning triple for the Barons next run.


On the mound, Tyler Danish lasted 5.2 innings but was unable to escape trouble. The Barons starter allowed six earned runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out six in the no decision.


Reliever Kyle Hansen picked up his first victory of the season, despite allowing his first two earned runs of the season which tied the game 8-8 in the seventh inning.


Following Basto’s decisive hit, Peter Tago secured his third save of the year, fanning four Jackson Generals hitters over two innings pitched.


LHP Jordan Guerrero returns to the mound tomorrow night, fresh off an 11-strikeout, no-hit performance against Montgomery in his last start.


Tedx Birmingham’s theme in 2016 was Pure Imagination.  But the best talks had more to do with the truths in life.  From living through tragedy to living through college, each of these talked about living life on life’s terms.

The great news is that the talks are all posted on the internet for to view and to share.  Here are some of our favorites from this year:


Why I Decided To Stop Saying “This Happened For A Reason”

Amy Bickers’ ex-husband killed himself in front of her in 2009.  She talks about the redemptive story arc of tragedy.   Her talk is here.    A good follow up would be to read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”.  Share this talk with your friends that have slogged through tough things in life.  This is the talk that will stick with you for a long time.


Why Focusing Too Much on Goals Is Bad

Garrison Linn is a researcher in UAB’s Quantum Materials Lab.  He talks about why being goal driven is not necessarily the end all and be all to actually reaching your goals.  Watch him talk about setting goals here.


Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Randi Pink is a writer and graduate student of creative writing at UAB who recently published a young adult novel about being black in a mostly white high school. Her novel is informed by her personal experience in a similar situation.

What makes Randi’s Ted talk so fun is her charming delivery.  Click here to see her speak about going from a basically all white community to an almost all black community while getting the audience to sing.


To see more of the speakers at Tedx Birmingham,  go to www.tedxbirmingham.com  The talks from 2016 and past years are available there.

Pulled pork is the star of many festive events in the South.  Deep smoked, rich and delicious, we slather it in BBQ sauce and put it on sandwiches, potatoes and even salads.

Pulled pork is can work in Mexican cuisine as well. It is great in tamales and enchiladas. A classic Mexican dish is posole which is pork and hominy stew rich.

Pulled pork is outstanding in tacos and burritos as well.  Layer with sliced avocado, jalepeno lime slaw and drizzle with Cholula hot sauce for a dish that combines the best of southern pulled pork and Mexican flavors.

This is a great way to use pulled pork from a crockpot. Simply season with salt, pepper and lime juice before you put it in the crockpot.  Let it cook on low while you are at work.  Or buy some plain pulled pork from any of our local barbeque places and you can have pulled pork tacos in the time it takes to assemble them.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Pulled Pork Tacos

  • Pulled pork without sauce (purchase or make your own)
  • Corn Taco Shells (soft or hard)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Jalepeno Lime Slaw (use our recipe or add jalepeno and lime to a purchased mix)
  • Mexican Hot Sauce (we prefer Cholula) or Salsa

Layer the pork, slaw, avocado and sauce on the tortilla shell. Eat!


Jalepeno Lime Slaw

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tea salt
  • ¼  tea pepper
  • 1 tb sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 fresh jalepenos slivered, seeds and pulp removed
  • Juice of 2 limes and their zest
  • 1 Bag Shredded Slaw Mix

Mix the mayo, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice and milk until well combined. Mix dressing, jalepenos and slaw mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

In a GEICO 500 that was one for the books, Brad Keselowski held off the field in dramatic fashion in the final laps Sunday to claim his fourth career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Talladega Superspeedway as a part of Aspen Dental Weekend.


NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track gave the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford driver his first NSCS career triumph (2009), and after Sunday’s dominating performance, he gained his 19th. Keselowski, who is locked into the season-ending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has two wins thus far in 2016.


“What can you say? Talladega has been good to me,” said Keselowski, who fended off a late, nailbiting challenge by Kyle Busch. “It’s great to be back on this podium as a race winner. You never know when you’re going to get here. Talladega has always been that way. It’s always been very good to me. I’m thankful for that.”


The event was wild, to say the least. In a race that featured a little bit of everything – continuous three- and four-wide racing, a wide range of team strategies and a few “Big One” incidents, Keselowski led more laps than anyone, 46.


Austin Dillon, who was trying to give Richard Childress Racing its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Talladega since Dale Earnhardt in 2000, was up just short in third, followed by two-time Talladega winner Jamie McMurray and the polesitter, rookie Chase Elliott. Sixth through 10th were Ty Dillon, who was a relief driver for Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, rookie Ryan Blaney and Trevor Bayne.


Dillon battled back to the top three spot after being caught up in two early crashes and managed to post his first top-10 finish in six races at Talladega.


“We started 17th with three laps to go and finished third,” Dillon said. “So from 17th to third, that was pretty cool.  (This morning) One guy came up to me during a suite (visit with sponsors) and said (he thought) Dale's (Earnhardt, Sr.) last win here (in 2000 for RCR), he came from 15th to first. Maybe if we started 15th, we could have got there.”


But, the day belonged to Keselowski.


“I like the races here,” Keselowski said with a victorious grin. “Talladega has always been a track for us that’s been a great catalyst for success. I don’t know why that is. It’s a track where if you’re capable of winning here, I think you show a certain level of attitude and swagger that carries your way through the rest of the year.”

Uber, the ride sharing service, announced today, starting at 1pm, it will now pick up and drop off customers at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth Airport. 

Airport pick ups have historically been a big source of push back in many cities where the taxi cab services have a monopoly on customers.  Uber was allowed to operate in Birmingham starting this December, but was barred from airport service.  Uber has been banned from airport service in some other cities, such as Austin and Newark.

Hi!  Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Amy Clark and I am a real estate agent for Lake Martin. I work with clients from Birmingham and Alabama and the US to find lake homes.


What show did you work on?

HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt - Home Sweet Home Lake Martin, Alabama (Season 2 Episode 8). 


How did you get involved with the show?

Last November I was at the Alabama  Association of Realtors of conference, sitting outside, when I  got a phone call from a producer at HGTV. At first, I didn’t think it was real.  They told me they were calling from HGTV and wanted me to be on one of the episodes.  Over the course of the next month, I went through the interview process.  We had Skype interviews and phone interview. It was a long process, but was so worth it.


Why did HGTV call you?

HGTV wanted to focus on Lake Martin and a particular price point and a young family. They heard about me.  I involved a young couple that they had sold a house to the year before from Auburn with 2 young children, Holly and John Parker. 


So, the Parkers had already purchased a lake home?

Yes – they purchased a lake home through me a year ago.  So they used the home they purchased as the final choice. I picked 3 additional homes that were currently on the market to be the other options. This is how they do those home purchase shows due to the time constraints for filming.  The Parker’s had not seen those homes before so their reactions to the homes were genuine. One of the reasons I wanted to work with Holly and John on the HGTV show is because they were very vocal and verbal, I knew they would be very honest. Holly and her husband John (Parker) are so real. Their little girl, who is an adorable red head,  and their little boy did the best of all.


How long did it take to shoot the program?

Four solid days of filming in the freezing cold in November.  It was 28 degrees. Started at 6am and finished at 6pm.

 It’s unbelievable what it took to do it. A team of 12 men came down from New York, one was lighting, one was sound, several camera men, a coordinator and one who was the runner.  What was so funny is that we got so close and we have stayed in touch for several months afterwards.   And of course, I am very close to my Auburn couple. 


What was shooting like?

By day 3 you are so tired and there are so many takes.  That one little clip may have taken 10 or 12 takes and it was so hard to remember what in the world I said! There was one person on staff that their job was to help me to remember what I said so I could repeat it if there was another take!

We were at the silo at Wind State Park and we were shaking so violently it was so cold.  You couldn’t tell on the TV show, they made it look like it was warm.  They would wrap us in warm blankets. And as soon as the director said “Action” they snatched the blankets off.

After the crew left, a few weeks later, a two man aerial team came with a drone. One man handled the camera and another man handle the drone. The drone was massive and it did photographs of all the houses in the show. These guys were top notch professionals.


What was the most challenging part of the process?

The most challenging thing had to be that the producers compressed those 4 days into 22 minutes for the show. I don’t know how they did that. It was a huge job.

How has the show impacted your business?

I was so excited about the exposure that Lake Martin got. You would not believe how many phone calls, listings and buyers I have had because of that TV show. Calls from all over the country!


What is the farthest away?

Probably California and they did buy a lake house.  Some from the Northeast.


If you had to do it over, would you do the show again?

It was such a great experience and I would do it again!


This episode of HGTV’s  Lake Front Bargain Hunt is available on Youtube for $1.99. Click here


For more information about Amy Clark, go to www.sellinglakemartin.com

If you want to read more about additional Alabama homes that have been featured on Lakefront Bargain Hunt, click here.


How would you like your "final" to be as sweet as these gorgeous cakes?  It's finals time all over Birmingham - from UAB to Jeff State. 

Jefferson State's culinary in Pastry Arts use all the techniques that they have learned in to create these beautiful cakes.  From how to roll fondant icing into a smooth canvas to piping icing flowers, the students learn many of the techniques used on shows like "Cake Boss". Pastry Arts is one of the tracks that culinary students can choose at Jeff State.   These cakes were photographed in the beautiful "kitchen stadium" at the Shelby campus.

These cakes are part of Chef Glenn Rinsky's CUA 165 "Cake Decorating" class.  For more examples of their artistry, click here.

For more information on the Culinary Arts program, click here


Birmingham Barons starter Tyler Danish dazzled a sellout crowd of 8,500 at Regions Field Thursday night, throwing a complete game shutout including six strikeouts to lead the Barons to a 4-0 victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.


Danish, 21, accomplished the complete game feat on his late father’s birthday. He threw 105 pitches, including 71 strikes, and allowed just three hits and two walks on the night.


The White Sox no. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline has now allowed just two earned runs in his last 20.1 innings pitched, striking out 14 in his last three starts.


Josh Richmond added a pair of RBIs for the Barons at the plate, posting a 2-for-3 night that featured a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning that gave Birmingham an early 1-0 lead.


Nicky Delmonico continued his early season hot streak with his fourth home run in as many games to give the Barons a 2-0 in the fourth inning, with Richmond and catcher Jeremy Dowdy contributing RBIs in the seventh inning to reach the 4-0 final score.


RHP Carson Fulmer makes his second start of the season at Regions Field tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The Barons will don custom jerseys as part of a “Superheroes Night” theme, which will be auctioned during the game to benefit Children’s of Alabama.


They Said It…


Barons RHP Tyler Danish


… On Pitching a Complete Game Shutout on his Late Father’s Birthday


Going into it I knew it was going to be an emotional day, so I tried to keep my mind off it as much as I possibly could and just have a great outing. I don’t think I could have scripted it any better. It’s a special day, so glad I could do it on this day and just enjoy the day as well.


… On His Comfort Level and Ability to Pitch for Contact


I feel like I can throw all my pitches right now in the zone, even if it’s early contact. When you can keep guys off early in counts and first pitches, it makes the night so much easier. You can’t take away pitches, you can’t eliminate pitches, and just being in the zone early benefits everything and makes your stuff “play” better as well.


… On His Newly Developed Cut-Fastball


It’s crazy how fast I learned it and how great of a pitch it’s become. I throw it to righties and lefties, it’s just a huge contact pitch; but tonight I used it as a put-away pitch as well. I can’t believe how fast it’s come along.


… On His Pace, Being on the Winning End of a 2:01 Time of Game


This has always been me. I’ve always try to keep fielders (focused), not a lot of time between pitches.


Barons Manager Ryan Newman


... On Danish “Building” Toward this Start, Improving Each Outing


He did everything we wanted to see tonight. He commanded the zone, he made them put the ball in play, and that’s how you throw a complete game. You use your pitches wisely and you know, it’s been building up. You could see with each start it was coming. This is what this kid is capable of doing every time he goes out there to pitch. It was awesome to see tonight.


… Regarding Development, if Danish is “Ahead of the Curve” After another Strong Start Tonight


With his age he’s ahead of the curve. He was here last year and he’s got some experience. As this game goes on for him he’s going to continue to develop, and this is what we want to see him do. Each start gets better and better, and if he keeps pitching like this hopefully we’re going to see him in Chicago sometime soon. I expect a lot more starts like this out of Tyler as he goes on.


… On Keeping that Confidence Going and Making it Contagious to Everyone Else in the Clubhouse


They all know what we’re striving for. We’re all going in the same direction. These guys come to the ballpark every day and work hard. We’re not worried about being 8-13 right now; it’s about “have these guys gotten better come August?” That’s what we’re looking for come August.

The educators who have emerged as the “final four” finalists vying to serve as the 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year are innovative and enthusiastic teachers who are committed to cultivating life-long learners who reach their full potential not only in the classroom, but throughout their lives.

The winner of Teacher of the Year will be announced May 11 in Montgomery.  The Teacher of the Year is not only recognized for his or her outstanding work as a teacher, but also functions as a resource and ambassador for teachers for the next year.

The finalists are:


  • Dawn Davis, Montana Street Academic Magnet School, Dothan City School System, District II
  • Sandy Georgette Deades Ritchey, Crestline Elementary School, Mountain Brook City School System, District VII


  • Vinny Chiaramonte, Robert F. Bumpus Middle School, Hoover City School System, District III
  • Dana Jacobson, Clay-Chalkville High School, Jefferson County School System, District VII

Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. Philip Cleveland said the final four candidates for the 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year have been chosen from many other outstanding examples of educational leadership in our state.

“Well-trained, dedicated, caring, enthusiastic, and innovative elementary and secondary teachers are among the ingredients essential to achieving excellence in preparing Alabama’s children and youth to become capable adults,” Cleveland said. “The final four are student-centered educators who personify the time, attention, and patience that great educators show every day in the classroom.”

The next step for the final four is an extensive interview with the state judging committee.  The 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year will be revealed at a ceremony hosted by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery

Jemison Park is a 54-acre area designed for preservation as a green way in Mountain Brook, Alabama. The trail at Jemison Park is often used for walking, jogging, reading, bird watching, and sometimes just enjoying a picnic.

Racing in Alabama barrels on.  After an exciting weekend at Barber,  Birminghamians can look forward to an exciting time at the for NASCAR at Talladega Raceway this coming weekend.

To get you up to date on who to watch, here is a quick recap of the racers.  Plus we have included a listing of where you can listen or watch the races. Start your engines!

Here are the results from this past weekend.  The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) hit the track at Richmond International Raceway. The ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards went to Salem Speedway.  All three Series will be at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

  • Carl Edwards pulled the classic “bump and run” move on teammate Kyle Busch just moments before crossing the finish line, taking home the victory in Sunday’s race at Richmond. This was Edwards’ second consecutive win, clinching a spot in the season-ending Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
  • Jimmie Johnson finished third with teammate Kasey Kahne following in fourth. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
  • Tony Stewart finished 19th in his first race of the 2016 season after suffering a back injury in the off season.
  • Other race winners in 2016 include: Johnson (2), Kyle Busch (2), Denny Hamlin, Harvick and Brad Keselowski.
  • Edwards will look to capture his first Talladega Superspeedway triumph in Sunday’s GEICO 500, and in the process, win his third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
  • Edwards jumped to the lead in the Chase standings over Harvick (-7). Johnson sits third (-21) with Busch fourth (-29) and Joey Logano fifth (-32).
  • The GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway is set this Sunday, May 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the race's defending champion.


  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. scored his fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Richmond after a late wreck set the race into overtime for a two-lap dash to the finish Saturday. This was Earnhardt, Jr.’s first win driving in his own JR Motorsports equipment.
  • Earnhardt, Jr. held off Ty Dillon by .266 seconds, but it was Dillon who came home with the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus available to the highest finisher among drivers who compete for the XFINITY Series Championship.
  • Earnhardt, Jr., will be looking to win his second straight GEICO 500 victory Sunday in Talladega.
  • Elliott Sadler came home third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon. Cole Custer finished sixth in his XFINITY Series debut.
  • Suarez holds a nine-point lead over Sadler in the battle for the championship. Ty Dillon sits third (-19) with Brandon Jones (-30) fourth and Erik Jones (-35) fifth.
  • The NXS will be at Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday for the Sparks Energy 300. Joey Logano is the race’s defending champion.

ARCA Racing Series

  • Christopher Bell took the checkered flag after having an eventful day at Salem Speedway Sunday.
  • Bell hung on all day after a hard battle with Justin Haley, who finished second.
  • Dalton Sargeant wound up third in his ARCA Series debut. Kyle Weatherman finished fourth and Blake Jones, the 2015 General Tire 200 champion at Talladega Superspeedway, rounded out the top five.
  • John Wes Townly heads the series leader board with 460 points. Chase Briscoe is second, followed by Bo LeMastus, Josh Williams and Brandon Lynn.
  • The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards General Tire 200 is set this Friday, April 29 at Talladega Superspeedway.

TV/Radio Coverage for Next Weekend

  • Sunday’s GEICO 500 pre-race coverage begins at 11:30 am CDT with race coverage starting at noon CDT. FOX, MRN and NASCAR SIRIUSXM will provide TV and radio coverage. 
  • Television race coverage for Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 is set for 2:00 pm CDT on FOX, as well as MRN and NASCAR SIRIUSXM with radio coverage
  • TV coverage for Friday’s General Tire 200 begins at 5:00 CDT on FOX Sports 1. Local radio coverage will be provided by WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM.


It is finals week at UAB and finals for the high schools and Samford are just around the corner.

This means students hunched over their laptops, hogging the WiFi all over town.   And to those of you who are not in finals, don’t be surprised if you can’t find a place to plug in your laptop at any of these places near UAB or Samford this time of year.

Remember that many places of these places are businesses, so be courteous.  Purchase food and drink and don’t hog the tables during peak times.

CHATTANOOGA, TN - Birmingham Barons starter Tyler Danish shined in his fourth start of the season, but Birmingham’s offense could not come to life as the Barons ended up on the wrong side of a 4-0 pitcher’s duel.


Lookouts starter Jason Wheeler dealt his longest outing of the season, shutting the Barons out over seven innings while recording nine strikeouts, the most by one pitcher against Birmingham this year.


For the Barons, Danish followed up his first win of the season against the Jackson Generals Sunday evening with 6.1 innings pitched and three strikeouts against Chattanooga tonight.


RHP James Dykstra inherited Danish’s second earned run, surrendering three straight hits in the seventh inning that extended the Barons deficit to 4-0 late in the game.


At the dish, Trey Michalczewski extended his hitting streak to a team-high eight games, and Jake Peter added his third double of the year.


Tonight marks the first shutout of the season for the Barons, who had not been on either side of the decision through 15 games.


Carson Fulmer makes his fourth start of the season, seeking his first win in a Barons uniform and pitching just two hours away from Vanderbilt, where he attended college.


Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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