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 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 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  The talks from 2016 and past years are available there.

Greg Bryant, one of the top recruits for UAB’s reinvigorated football program, was found shot in a car on I-95 near West Miami on Saturday.  He was declared brain dead this morning.  The incident has been classified as a homicide and is being investigated by the West Palm Beach Police.

21 year old Bryant was from Delray Beach, Florida.  He had played at Notre Dame as a running back for one season before being deemed academically ineligible.  Before signing at UAB, he was taking classes at ASA College where he played one game.   UAB had allowed him to enroll in January 2016 to get ready for the 2017 football season.    The 2017 football season UAB is the first season the team would play since the program was disbanded and then reinstated due to popular demand from the alumni and community. 

Bryant was considered one of the top players recruited to UAB’s new program.

Click here for highlights of his playing career. 

This is a developing story.

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.

Do you want to give Mom a day off from cooking, but you are terrible, no good or awful in the kitchen?

Here are some fancy ideas for breakfast in bed, a gorgeous lunch after church or a relaxing dinner that involve NO COOKING.


Breakfast in Bed

The keys to a special breakfast in bed are:

  • A pretty tray
  • Flowers (a single flower can be perfect)
  • Favorite or fancy pastry
  • Fruit in a pretty bowl (get out the fancy crystal)
  • Coffee or tea (or diet Coke if that's her favorite way to caffeine)
  • Mom doesn't have to clean it up

If you don't have a pretty tray,  take a few cloth napkins or pretty piece of cloth and place it over a cookie sheet. Publix has doilies for $1.69 next to the paper towels if you can't find anything cute to cover the tray.  Add a flower - even flowers from your yard add that special something. 

For special pastries, check out Klingler's in Vestavia. Their cheese streudel is out of this world.  Or pick a pastry selection from long time Birmingham favorite, Savage's in Homewood.  Local grocery stores also have wonderful pastry selections. Get something that is both a favorite and not an everyday treat. Put the pastries in a pretty basket with a napkin or tea towel.  If it is last minute, go through the drive through at Starbucks.  Then take it home and put it on the pretty tray with a flower.


Lunch after Church

There are a ton of restaurants that are having special Mother's Day lunches.  But if going out is not a good fit for your family (maybe the children are too little or you have family members with special needs), you can still do a delicious lunch at home without cooking.

The keys to making it special are:

  • Decorate the table - use a tablecloth, the prettiest dishes you have, flowers or candles
  • Clean it up - it's no fun for Mom if she is the one doing all the work.
  • Pick things she likes to eat.  Sometimes Mom just wants something delicious and light. Some Moms want a fancy to-do. Some Moms are junk food junkies.  It’s her day!

Everyone Around the Table

Some Moms simply want is all her people around the table.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a big meal without Mom having to work herself to death?  Put a tablecloth on the table (they have them at Dollar Tree if you don’t have one) and add some flowers or candles.   But make sure your lunch reflects what Mom likes.


Honey baked Ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, rolls and a salad mix picked up from the grocery

Tracy's sides available at Western Supermarkets in the freezer section are delicious and give a local flair.


Light and Casual

Soup and Salad

Good quality soups, like homemade Shrimp and Crab gumbo from Spoon and Ladle soups (available at Western) or  soups from the deli at Fresh Market or Whole Foods plus a fancy salad can be lovely. Splurge on the highest quality you can afford. Pick up a salad mix and a fresh salad dressing (usually in the case in the produce section). Add a bottle of wine or her favorite soft drink in a pretty glass.


Pizza Party

Mom likes a pizza party too.  Order in from your favorite place or pick up some of the heat and bake from Sam’s or Costco.  Serve with a salad and ice cream floats (if that floats her boat).


Fried Chicken

I asked my mom what she likes and she wanted fried chicken from Jack’s.   She also said that she wanted her mom and grandmother there for lunch (sniff). I can’t make that happen as they are heaven sent, but I can pick up some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, slaw and biscuits. You can even order the family meals online.  Get some gourmet cupcakes from Dreamcakes or Edgar's to make it special.


The key to Mother’s Day is to let Mom know that you are thinking about her and appreciate her.  Little touches show that you went out of your way. It doesn’t have to break the bank or be complicated to give her a great day.



Jerome Lewis has been the Head Janitor at Crestline School for 8 years. This year he has won the nationwide  Cintas Janitor of the Year. Cintas is one of the nation's largest cleaning companies and has approximately 30,000 employees.

The award comes with $5,000 for the winner and $5,000 for Crestline Elementary.

Described as the heart of Crestline Elementary School, Mr. Jerome makes every child, administrator, teacher, parent and visitor feel welcome. With a smile always on his face, Jerome has seen, smelled and cleaned it all – from bathrooms to locker rooms to the cafeteria.

Two years ago, Mr. Lewis battled esophageal cancer; however, he never allowed it to slow him down at work and most certainly never allowed it to dampen his spirits. The children saw an adult who they love and care for go through an extremely difficult experience while never losing his smile, never becoming bitter and working hard to persevere. Always there to open the door or give a child a high five or hug, Jerome is one of a kind. He is a beam of sunshine for the children at school every day, and his optimism, encouragement and positivity are infectious.

As one student puts it, “Jerome is a breath of fresh air even when the day stinks.”

Saturday Double header Recap

Birmingham Barons RHP Carson Fulmer earned the victory in the first game of a doubleheader at Regions Field, but the Barons bullpen was tagged with a loss in the latter half as the Barons and Blue Wahoos split a split a Saturday evening doubleheader.


Fulmer, the White Sox no. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, recorded his second straight win, allowing five hits and three earned runs in addition to just one walk and three strikeouts over six innings pitched.


The Barons offense in game one was led by catch Jeremy Dowdy, who finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Dowdy’s home run in the bottom of the sixth inning sent Birmingham to the 8-3 final score and sealed the victory for the Barons.


LHP Jordan Guerrero earned his fifth straight no decision in the second game, throwing five innings and allowing just one earned run while striking out six Pensacola hitters.


Offensively, Birmingham posted a pair of runs in the sixth inning to even the score 2-2, with Eudy Pina plating Adam Engel for the first strike and Trey Michalczewski advancing Pina home for the second score of the frame.


James Dykstra was tagged with the loss out of the Barons bullpen, allowing three runs in the seventh inning to reach the game’s 5-2 final score. Birmingham brought the tying run to the plate, but could not capitalize for victories in both games.


Sunday's Game Recap

Birmingham Barons starter David Holmberg allowed just two runs over seven innings pitched, earning his first win in a Barons uniform against his former organization as Birmingham bested the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6-4 at Regions Field.


Barons catcher Jeremy Dowdy started the scoring for Birmingham, launching a fly ball past the left field fence to draw the home team even in the third inning. Eddy Alvarez and Adam Engel combined to score the second and third runs of the game, with Engel recording his 10th stolen base of the season and Alvarez adding a 2-for-3 night with a run and an RBI in the win.


Birmingham stretched the lead thanks to a trio of Josh Richmond RBIs in the middle innings, with a Richmond single scoring Engel and Eudy Pina in the fifth followed by a clutch two-out double plating Nicky Delmonico in the seventh inning that gave the Barons a 6-2 lead.


Brian Clark recorded his first save of the season out of the bullpen, and Birmingham’s defense came through to close the game. Pina caught the second out of the frame in left field before firing the ball straight to Dowdy, who applied the tag to baserunner Zach Vincej for the final out.


Brandon Brennan eyes another victory at Regions Field tomorrow as the Barons and Blue Wahoos seal the series with an 11:30 a.m. “School Day” first pitch.

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.”

It was a photo finish that ended Elliott Sadler’s 65-race winless drought in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300 on Saturday as part of the Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.


Sadler took the No. 1 OneMain Chevrolet to Gatorade Victory Lane at NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track, finishing just ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier and series rookie Brennan Poole.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Joey Logano held the lead as the field entered the tri-oval, but a battle to the finish between Logano and Sadler led to a late crash that collected Logano’s No. 22 Discount Tire Ford and several others, leaving Sadler, Allgaier and Poole fighting for the win – and an automatic bid to the Chase for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship.


Sadler’s last win came from Talladega Superspeedway in 2014, but this time was special as he celebrated his return to victory lane with his entire family - wife Amanda and two children Wyatt and Austin - to make Saturday's win even more exceptional, the milestone also comes on his 41st birthday.


“I was very fortunate that I had Justin Allgaier behind me. He started fifth on the restart and I knew he would stay with me, and then we could make whatever moves we needed to make to try to win the race.”

The Emporia, Virginia native said that Saturday’s race had a must-win feel to it. He didn’t flinch.


“After the caution was out, I still felt like we were in the lead,” said Sadler. “I was kind of just anxious sitting down there at the start-finish line. We felt like we needed it. It was a great birthday gift when they started screaming in my ear.”


Jeremy Clements and Brendan Gaughan finished third and fourth, respectively.

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

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


Gus Dean, who started the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards General Tire 200, earned his first career win on Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway.

Following the fourth caution of the 76-lap race, ARCA Racing Series officials declared that the race would end under yellow due to impending darkness, although the series typically allows multiple attempts to finish the race under green flag conditions. Dean was declared the winner in his No. 98 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet.

Josh Williams, who entered the race third in points, finished second in the shortened event. Chase Briscoe, Will Kimmel and Sean Corr rounded out an unofficial top-five order. Former Talladega Superspeedway winner and Friday’s polesitter Tom Hessert finished sixth.

“The car was obviously a top-notch car all day long,” said Dean, a South Carolina native. “It got really hairy there towards the end. Mason and those guys made an excellent pit strategy, and it really played out for us. We were able to come back through the field, and the guys did an awesome job on pit road.”


The event was largely incident-free until the race’s final 15 laps, with two multi-car incidents taking out perennial Talladega contenders, including former winner Bobby Gerhart. Series points leader John Wes Townley fell multiple laps down early following a cut tire due to contact with Gerhart.

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.

According to a growing body of evidence, spanking is not a healthy way to discipline children. A recent study of 160,000 children over 50 years indicates that spanking can be linked to poor mental health. 

So, if the time honored Southern Switch (as in “Granny told me I had to go pick out my own switch for my spanking”) is no longer acceptable, what options do parents have for consequences when rules are disobeyed or general snottiness abounds?

The answer lies, as it does in many instances these days, in TECHNOLOGY.

The videogames, the YouTube, the Snapchat, the iphone – in short – the internet is the key to discipline in 2016.  Removal of the internet/technology  is the absolute worst thing you can do to most children and teens – indeed, most adults too!


Stone Age Methods

These are the methods that require no computer savvy on the part of the parent. The truth is that your child is probably the Technology Guru of your home, so stone age is the only method you can use without their help.  In truth, you could just tell the child that they are grounded, but there appears to be some additional acceptance when there is no way to access the technology. Makes it more real.

  • Put away the electronics - Put them in your drawer or lock them in your trunk.  Deny the access for however long the consequence is needed. This works great for small devices like iPods, phones, laptops and handheld games.   Remember where you put them as their value goes down when you find them years later under “V” in your office file cabinet (not that that has ever happened – well, maybe it has. Sorry).
  • Take the power cord to their gaming system or computer – this works well when there it is a non-universal cord (hard to replace)and the item is really too big and a pain to move.
  • Take the internet cord – the one that connects to the internet box. It looks like a phone cord and plugs into the internet box and that phone plug looking thing in the wall. The plus and downside is that it restricts internet for all members of the household. This is great for enforcing bedtimes. No one wants to be up without internet.   Sleep with it under your pillow if necessary. The internet will come back on when you plug it back in.


Technologically Advanced Methods

These require a bit of computer knowledge, but they have the added value of impacting only the household member who is currently grounded. Plus they can be done with your phone once you learn how to do it, so you don’t even have to get up.

  • Change the WiFi password  – This method has been popular around the internet for a while. One mom posted the list of chores that the children had to do to get the daily WiFi password. This is actually pretty easy to do once do it the first time. 
  • Ban Their IP From Your Router – This method can block specific devices from your home internet. This means that the rest of the family can use the internet, but the grounded child cannot from their devices. 
  • Make Their Internet Feel Like Dial Up - QoS.  This may be considered cruel and unusual punishment.  This can also be done to specific devices.  Here’s a guide.  Not gonna lie, it’s a little complicated.    (Note: This is also a good prank and it’s not messy like putting whipped cream in their hand and tickling their nose while they sleep.)


But my kids don’t LIKE the internet, what can I do?

Go ahead and sign them up for the local chapter of The Society for Creative Anachronism.  The Birmingham chapter can be found here

In the meantime, if they require discipline,  here are some old school consequences that don’t involve spanking or the internet.

  • Memorize a famous speech or passage - Child remains grounded until they can recite the chosen passage.   This method has bonus point for educational value.  For example, the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Old English. They will probably have to learn it in 11th grade anyway – get a head start.    The Gettysburg is also great.
  • Extra chores –  Otherwise known as "The Classic". The bonus for this is that Mom and Dad have LESS chores. Those things you have been meaning to do like pulling weeds, dusting the baseboards or scrubbing out the kitchen cabinets are perfect for Johnny to do while he contemplates his transgressions. Has the added bonus of teaching the children how to take care of their home.


Is your child ALWAYS grounded?

Realistically, if reasonable consequences are consistently failing to change a negative behavior, get a professional involved because there may be additional problems going on,  such as an undiagnosed mental health issue.

Here are some mental health resources for children in Birmingham:

NAMI of Birmingham The National Alliance of Mental Health Birmingham office

Vulcan Psychology Group 

Pitts and Associates

Bair, Peacock, McDonald and McMullan, P.C.



Note: The author has tested most of these methods except the QoS one because she just found out about it and it is hard. She currently sleeps with the internet cord under her pillow.  She has two boys. Her oldest is purportedly a low level member of Anonymous which means his computer skills far outstrip hers.

“Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson has said some dumb things over the years, but that quote perfectly sums-up

the times for a lot of people—and companies—living through challenging economic


So many of us thought we had it all worked out. But here we are: successful individuals

with career records (and lifestyles) that our fathers would envy; established companies

with marquee names, some in their third generation; staggering punch-drunk from a

solidly-landed economic uppercut we never saw coming.

Personally, I’ve felt this concussion (more than once, I might add), and am happy to

report that I’ve clambered back to my feet once again.

When I found myself at fifty, facing yet another start, one advisor said to me: “Ken, you’ve reinvented yourself

perhaps five or ten times during your career. It’s just time to do it once more.”

Muhammad Ali said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty

has wasted thirty years of his life.” In my career, I find myself sharing my own setbacks

and experiences—as we entrepreneurial types seem to draw more from listening to

stories about others than we do from having someone preach to us.

I’ve pretty much seen it all. Humble background as seventh of eight children. Working

my way through college. Joining Corporate America right out of school. I ditched it all at

24 to start my own business, lived through new partners, acquisitions, mergers, several

business divorces, litigation, business and real estate successes and failures, a second

stint in corporate america, and now, full circle, on my own again. And happier than ever.

And during my own personal dramas, I was working for clients as a CPA—serving them

through their own trials and tribulations. As a turnaround professional, I helped several

near bankruptcy rise out of the ashes to some measure of success.

During my own personal turnaround, close friends and advisors who spoke to me early

on, then again three months later (after I’d crafted and executed a winning reinvention),

exclaimed, “Wow, you’ve come a long way in three months – exactly what did you do?”

Here’s what worked for me:

1. Huddled with my support team: My wife Pam and daughter Morgan served as

the core support group, and a few other close friends listened patiently and

offered reaction to my ideas. Everything was possible with their encouragement

and belief in me.

2. Embraced social media: Especially LinkedIn. Setting up my own social media

profile and expanding my connections helped me refine the process of

presenting my public image to the world.

3. Got coached: A coach in my employment search insisted that I hire one as well

for writing a resume. This process of self-examination helped me see what I’d

accomplished, not as I saw it, but as the job market would see it. For additional

background, I bought the book, The Executive Job Search by Orrin Wood.

4. Read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This study of successful people and the

often hidden circumstances that lead to their success helped me better

understand my past successes, and gave me clues for succeeding again in the


5. Took time for reflection: On my long-planned bicycle tour of Colorado in June, I

never stopped my reinvention efforts, but the change of scenery and the

symbolic (and real) scaling of mountains on a bicycle helped me realize that new

things were possible.

6. Focused on my “10,000 hour skills”: One chapter in Gladwell’s Outliers

focuses on skill sets and how long it takes to become good at something. I

realized that whatever new career I chose, I needed to capitalize on the tens of

thousands of hours I’d spent working with entrepreneurial business owners and

leaders of organizations.

7. Became the king of lists: I had a “To-Do” list for dozens of tasks -- people to

contact, organizations to call on -- for every conceivable task to guide me daily.

8. Became a champion goal setter: On the wall, I posted yearly “Personal Goals”

and “Professional Goals;” simple-to-understand reminders of what was important

and easy to measure if I’d achieved them.

9. Network, network, network: I became relentless in attending networking

events, meeting people, looking for how I could help them in their search or their

businesses, doing favors for others, and accepting them in return.

10. Early to bed, early to rise: For me personally, my highest energy period is very

early in the morning, so I began my days early with my reinvention tasks. Some

days, I get more done by 7 a.m. than most people do by noon!

No one asks for a punch in the mouth—and they usually come when we least expect

them. Printed at the bottom of my goals list is a quote from Benjamin Mays that helps me

daily: “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having

no goal to reach”. I’ve found that a good place to start every time I’m reinventing myself.

For further reading:

“Fired to Hired – Finding an Executive Job is Tougher than Ever” – by Romy Ribitzky, Jan 5, 2010 from finding-jobs- for-executives/?ana=e_pft

“Working Identity - Nine Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career” by Herminia Ibarra, 2/10/2003 Harvard Business School “Working Knowledge” Archive

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell,

“100 Tips, Tools and Resources to Reinvent Your Career” Courtesy of, published July 2009 and-tools- to-reinvent- your-career.htm

“Reinventing Yourself: The Ultimate Balancing Act” - By Helen Jonsen, Balancing Act 2008, career-leadership- careers- cx_hj_1230ultimate.html

“Reinvent Your Career in Five Simple Steps” By Cheryl Lynch Simpson E-Zine Articles - Career-In- Five-Simple- Steps&id=1875

The Executive Job Search: a Comprehensive Handbook for Seasoned Professionals by Orrin Wood, Search-Comprehensive- Professionals/dp/0071409424

“Corporate Renewal Industry Overview”, online article by the Turnaround Management Association,


Kenneth C. DeWitt is founder of DeWitt LLC, an Alabama-based business strategy execution and coaching firm. DeWitt is a life-long entrepreneur, having been a founding member of two accounting firms, as well as having partnership in other businesses in the retail, agriculture, consumer finance, overseas travel, and commercial real estate industries. DeWitt specializes in helping entrepreneurs and CEOs create highly profitable businesses that serve and enrich their lives rather than control them. During his 30 year career, DeWitt has served over 150 companies with revenues from $1 million to $50+ million as a trusted advisor. His extensive experience has taught him what works — and what does not work — in building valuable businesses that are worth owning, and he brings this to bear in helping organizations implement strategic initiatives that reduce frustrations and improve profits, cash flows, banker relationships, and quality of life for the owners. DeWitt is a published author of two books and over 300 articles on financial and business matters. He has a combined 14 years’ experience as a regular columnist for The Tuscaloosa News and the Commercial Carrier Journal, and frequently publishes op-ed pieces in the Birmingham Business Journal and other periodicals. His monthly newsletter, Alabama Entrepreneur, currently has over 1,500 subscribers and is aimed at helping business leaders get more of what they want out of their companies. DeWitt holds a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration from the University of Alabama.


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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