Rush leaves OMMS to be principal at Columbiana Middle

It was announced this week that Dr. Kerry Rush of Oak Mountain Middle School is leaving to assume the principalship at Columbiana Middle School.

Rush was a charter member of the OMMS faculty, spending 19 years at the school, 12 years as a science teacher and the last seven as assistant principal.

“I cannot say enough to describe Dr. Rush’s commitment to excellence, in addition to her love and devotion to the students and staff at OMMS,” said Principal Larry Haynes in an email statement to parents. “She has been an inspiration to each of us and will be deeply missed.”

First Taste: Lime Fresh Mexican Grill at The Summit

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Last night our intern Katey and I ventured to try the new Lime Fresh Mexican Grill by Sak’s at The Summit as a part of a media event.

Nach'Yo'Momma's Nachos

Nach’Yo’Momma’s Nachos

Everyone loves Mexican food, but you can find it on seemingly every corner on the 280 corridor; The Summit even has Izzo’s Illegal Burrito and Chuy’s slready. So we went in asking what would make us venture to the lower part of The Summit for a casual meal at a chain restaurant?

As their name says, the food is really fresh, fresh enough for me to set aside my bias toward local restaurants over chains to return, hopefully soon. Lime Fresh claims to use local ingredients where possible, and what we tasted was definitely a step up from your typical burrito chain, but at similar prices.

Skinny Burrito with a side of guacamole.

Katey tried their nachos, and I the Skinny Burrito with a side of guacamole. The chicken, cheese and beans toasted inside a grainy shell didn’t taste like the lighter route of Mexican though. And the super fresh guac was done right with  large chunks of avocado; they also have three specialty flavors of guacamole on their menu. Katey, a nacho fan and Mexican food enthusiast, gave her choice a thumbs up, too.

Selections from the salsa bar

No matter what you order, you get an all-access-pass to chips and their salsa bar; I had a hard time deciding which of the many kinds to try and all were tasty and, once again, fresh. It’s nice to have a choose-your-own topping for whichever of their salads, quesadillas, tacos, burritos and other menu items you choose.

Katey and I decided that we would definitely be back, especially after we saw their specials for cheap tacos and drinks, including their frozen sangria. They also get some points for creative marketing for this sign.

Remembering Heardmont Farm

The gates as they originally stood just off Cahaba Valley Road at the entrance to Heardmont Farm. Howard Perdue, Jr. built the gates and today they stand at the Park’s entrance near the playground. Photos courtesy of Nancy Perdue Boone.

By KATHRYN ACREE

Today Heardmont, or as it’s officially named, The Park at Heardmont Farm, welcomes kids playing in its ball fields or along its creek beds and football, soccer and cross country teams from around the state. But longtime residents may remember the park was once Heardmont Farm. Like many park and recreation venues, you might think

Howard Perdue, Jr. constructed this small home on Heardmont Farm that was later converted into a sheriff’s substation. Also pictured are corrals on the farm where he raised Polled Hereford cattle.

there is an ancient Mr. or Mrs. Heardmont somewhere in Alabama’s past, but this is not the case.

Heardmont owes its name to Stephen Heard, the first governor of Georgia named in 1781. Heard’s fourth great-grandson, Howard Perdue, Jr., born in 1912, was a well-known Birmingham trial lawyer. Continue reading

Farming for the future in Mt Laurel

Farm Manager Keith Caton and Jim ‘N Nick’s CEO Nick Pihakis run the community farm in Mt Laurel. Photos by Madoline Markham.

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

In a valley lies a farm. On its land lives a farmer. From its ground comes sustenance to feed the people who live around it.

This is what you find on Highway 41 near Mt Laurel, but it’s not common outside most urban and suburban landscapes in Alabama, according to Nick Pihakis, the mastermind behind the restaurant empire of Jim ‘N Nick’s.

This year Pihakis is funding the 25-acre Mt Laurel farm, which is owned by Ebsco, to use as a model for small farmers to sell goods to restaurants like his. Ultimately, he hopes this experimental three-acre farm model (only about three acres on the Mt Laurel property are farmed) will help rebuild the agriculture structure in the South so that farmers are guaranteed a buyer for their goods.

“It’s a good deal on both sides,” said Pihakis, a Mt Laurel resident. Continue reading

A rally for Ally

Chelsea Middle School student Ally Nelson with her mom, Christina. Eleven-year-old Ally is battling Osteosarcoma. Photo courtesy of Christina Nelson.

By KATHRYN ACREE

Eleven-year-old Ally Nelson’s fight began with a limp noticed by her mother, Christina, in March. Ally said it didn’t bother her too bad, but by the time the family went out of town for spring break, the pain in her thigh was no longer something to be ignored.

The original diagnosis based on her x-rays was tendonitis, and the Nelsons were advised to give her ibuprofen and to stretch out her leg for three weeks. After a week and a half, Ally’s limp grew worse. Her mom noticed she had lost muscle mass in her left thigh and now had swelling. Continue reading

Chelsea’s own Mrs. USA contestant

Mrs. Alabama United States of America Ashley Bentley lives in Chelsea. Photo courtesy of Frank Carnaggio.

By MADISON MILLER

Mrs. Alabama United States of America 2012 Ashley Bentley hasn’t been involved with pageants for her entire life. In fact, she only started a year ago.

“I was pregnant with my second child, and I wanted to make sure that I lived my life to give the best example. I wanted to do more and be more for them,” Bentley said.
Going into the pageant world for the first time, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I was happy to find out it wasn’t about a pretty face. It was a good bonding experience with other mothers who wanted to be a good role model,” Bentley said.

A native of Nashville and graduate of the University of Mississippi, Bentley moved to Birmingham after graduation to work at the Hershey Company. Twelve years later, she is the wife of Chris Bentley, owner of Bentley Flooring, and mother to two girls, Brooke, 5, and Brayden, 2. Continue reading

Bistro Provare: Restaurant Showcase

Jason Bierley oversees students serving Salmon Florentine en Croute at a Bistro Provare fixed menu dinner. Photo courtesy of Henry Liu Mitchell.

By MADOLINE MARKHAM

Provare: to try. It’s what you see advanced culinary students doing as they slide a pizza into a brick oven or top a Napoleon with fresh blackberries in the open bistro kitchen at Jeff State’s Shelby Campus.

When you enter the dining room, which culinary Program Director Joseph Mitchell describes as a European/Tuscan environment, you don’t realize you are on a school campus. Continue reading