Monthly Archives: March 2011

Picnic for the Planet

 

Picnic for the Planet

Local band Earthbound holds a party benefiting a group that protects our waterways.

March 31, 2011

On Sunday, April 17, local band Earthbound presents its yearly Earthfest celebration, a free concert and picnic held annually in Bessie Estelle Park near UAB, from 2 p.m. to sundown. In addition to Earthbound, local country music singer Scott Ward will perform with his band Big Mule. Bouncing space walks will be available for kids, as well as a dunk tank. The extravaganza promotes awareness of Earth Day (observed each April 22) and supports the Black Warrior Riverkeeper in its efforts as a nonprofit watchdog uncovering pollution activities concerning the Black Warrior River, a primary source of drinking water for Birmingham. Although admission to the event is free, donations to Black Warrior Riverkeeper will be accepted.

Earthbound’s Earthfest started a decade ago in George Ward Park. (This is the third year at Bessie Estelle Park.) Sam Ray, manager and sound technician for Earthbound, remembers it was originally a bold move on the band’s part to play at George Ward because they never secured the proper permits when staging the celebration each spring.

 

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Good use of resources: a pre-Earth Day concert in the park becomes a fundraiser for Black Warrior Riverkeeper. (Photo: Jenn Patterson.) (click for larger version)

 

 

 

 

“We dragged a generator out there, knowing the cops could tell us to shut down at any time,” Ray says. “We later discovered that to get the permits was not as big a deal as we had thought it was. And so once we began doing it legally, we got together as a band and decided that we could benefit somebody from this. And that’s when we decided as a group that we wanted to benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper.”

Ray praises the organization’s watchdog role policing the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. “They’re not high-priced lawyers in penthouse office suites with $5,000 suits. These guys are out there and they’re doing what they’re doing on a shoestring budget and they’re making a difference,” Ray says of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “We’re proud to be associated with them. They go out and they monitor the waterways and they find these sources of pollution. They document it, they get proof of it, and then they go to the people that are causing it and say, ‘Hey look, this is what’s happening.’ They give them a chance to be right and clean it up. And then if the companies . . . don’t follow by the laws that have been established already that they’re supposed to follow, then they take the next step.”

“It’s a good opportunity to let people know about tangible issues that we’re working on, too. So, holistically, yes [Earthfest is about] Earth Day but also specific water issues,” explains Charles Scribner, executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

The Shepherd Bend mine controversy, for example, is one water issue that made headlines this year. The University of Alabama systems owns crucial acreage that would make mining the greater area lucrative if the UA property is leased or sold to Shepherd Bend Mining. However, there is the likelihood that coal mine wastewater will be discharged into the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River, immediately upstream of a primary Birmingham Water Works Board drinking-water intake—the drinking source for 200,000 people. Protests have been held on the university’s Tuscaloosa campus as well as at UAB and Samford University. The Birmingham City Council passed a resolution on March 15 urging the University of Alabama not to lease or sell the coveted land to Shepherd Bend Mining.

“Basically, UA owns most of the land across the river from our drinking water supply. So even though this mine proposal has gotten the permits it needs to move forward, if they don’t get UA’s land they can’t really economically move forward with the mine,” says Scribner. “Just letting people know in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham that the Black Warrior watershed is part of their drinking water is vital. That’s known well in Tuscaloosa, but less so in Birmingham. So this event helps raise awareness for that.”

“In the case of the Shepherd Bend mine, the ratepayers, i.e. people like us that are drinking water right now, are going to carry the burden of any increased treatment costs,” explains Scribner. “The Birmingham Water Works Board obviously can’t internalize that, they’ve got to externalize it on their ratepayers. I don’t blame them. I mean, they’re doing their part by fighting the permit. But you would think that if a mine occurred in a place like that the mine would be responsible for covering any increased treatment. But nope, that would go to the public.”

Scribner says the most important focus is to put pressure on the university system. “In order to really move forward they’re going to have to have UA’s cooperation,” he says. “As much as we’re fighting the ADEM [Alabama Department of Environmental Management] permit in court and the Water Works Board is fighting the mining permit, if we can just put enough pressure on UA not to participate, that’s pretty much the end of the story.”

“I’ve always said that as long as I’m involved with this, it will be about Earthbound, it will be about Earth Day, it will be about our community, and it will always be free and all-inclusive,” Ray says of Earthfest. “We’ll never sell tickets to it and it’s always going to be a family event. It’s going to be a picnic in the park to enjoy music on a Sunday afternoon.” &

Get more information about Earthbound’s Earthfest, and the Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s efforts, at www.blackwarriorriver.org.

The Smoothest Joint in Town

The Smoothest Joint in Town

March 17, 2011

Since 1997, Ona’s Music Room has been one of the city’s classiest venues for listening to live music. In recent months, Ona Watson moved his club from its longtime 20th Street locale to the Pepper Place entertainment complex. The new location, like its predecessor, reflects the tradition of stylish lounges where live music is the main attraction—an approach that locally dates back to the 1970s when Bob Cain and his Canebreakers held court at the Cane Break Supper Club in downtown Birmingham on weekends.

“I kind of put a spin on what I saw Bob Cain do, because as a kid I used to work at a place down the street from the Cane Break called Bohemian Bakery,” Watson says on a recent afternoon inside his new club. “Each day I would leave school and go and bus dishes and pass by the Cane Break. One day Bob was rehearsing his band, and I went in and Bob asked me what I did and I told him I was a singer. So I sang with them that afternoon and it became a habit that I’d stop there while I was waiting on my bus when I got off work and I’d go sing with them. I kind of watched what he was doing; the way he had it set up, he had a ma”tre d’. Everything was very well rehearsed, it was a good atmosphere, no drama, just good fun. People used to dress up to come in there.”

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Ona Watson’s fondness for illuminating his club’s interior with red lighting was inspired by Amsterdam’s red-light district, which Watson saw firsthand while touring Europe with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. (Photographs by Owen Stayner.) (click for larger version)

Whether with his band Champagne or sitting in with other acts, Watson can be heard singing in his own club from time to time. But he’ll never forget some advice Bob Cain passed along years ago. “One thing I learned from Bob is not to play too often at the same place. Mr. Cain told me, ‘People love you but people love to get tired of you, too.’”

Though the club favors mostly jazz and rhythm ‘n’ blues, Watson has no prejudices toward a particular style of music. “You might come in here one night and I might have a country and western band playing,” he says. “The next night I might have a jazz band playing. I hate that they typecast music because a B flat is a B flat. If it’s good, it’s good; if it’s bad, it’s bad, whether it’s country, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz.”

Ona’s Music Room has been open at the Pepper Place location since this past New Year’s Eve. “It was just time for it, I’d been at the old place for 15 years,” Ona explains. “Over here the parking should be better. We’re still doing a good late-night crowd but I’m hoping that we can get an earlier crowd, especially with the farmers market here in the springtime.”

 

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Ona’s Music Room reflects the Pepper Place’s modern-industrial decor. (click for larger version)

 

 

 

Watson grew up singing in the choir at Groveland Baptist Church, where his father was the pastor. “My dad was a minister and bootlegger,” he says, laughing. “I also was a tap dancer. I hated when we had company because every time somebody came to our house my dad would always make me dance in front of them. So I always knew I was going to have to do a show when we had company.”

The youngest person to be inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Watson played in the concert band at Parker High School under Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame founder Dr. Frank Adams. “If Dr. Adams were teaching today, he’d be doing 10 to 20 [years] for child abuse, because he used to whip my ass,” Watson says, laughing. “It was tough love but good love. I wanted to play saxophone (in high school) because all the girls like saxophone. But Dr. Adams told me I was going to play trombone because that’s what the band needed.”

 

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The club’s “wall of fame” features famous entertainers who have dropped in, including B.B. King and Queen Latifah. (click for larger version)

 

 

 

Brian Less, Taylor Hicks’ music director, keyboardist, and tour manager, has played Ona’s Music Room with Hicks since 2003. The band sometimes uses Ona’s space to rehearse. “The cool thing about Ona is that when we were a nobody band, he would always let us play there and he would pay us full even if we had an empty house,” Less says. “So, in turn, after the ‘American Idol’ thing hit, we returned the favor. We’re not going to charge him what we charge everybody else.”

Trumpet player and singer Robert Moore, who currently lives in Oregon, has logged many a night onstage at Ona’s. “I always respected the way that he works a room,” says Moore. “I said to somebody years ago that Ona could walk into a Baptist missionary women’s association—old blue hairs—and have them swaying from side to side and clapping on two and four within about three or four minutes. The guy knows how to charm an audience. I’ve always respected that. He’s a showman; he’s not just a musician.”

“Me and Ona go back to the ’70s, I remember Ona playing at the Polaris Lounge, which used to be at the top of the Hyatt House, which is now the Sheraton downtown,” recalls Bruce Ayers, longtime owner of the Comedy Club. “It was the nicest restaurant in town and had this really fancy, classy bar and the entertainment was Ona.” Referring to Watson as “old school,” Ayers laughs as he remembers Ona’s fondness for dressing sharply. “Ona is a clothes hound, big time. We used to buy our shoes at Gus Mayer, and we wear the same size. So I’d go in there and he would buy all the cool shoes before I could get there. I’d go in there to buy a pair of shoes and the salesman would go, ‘Ona’s already got ‘em.’ And I’d say, ‘That son of a bitch!’ He means a lot to me. Ona is what entertainment in Birmingham is all about.” &

 

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(click for larger version)

 

 

 

Ona’s Music Room, 2801 Second Avenue South. Details: 320-7006, www.onasmusicroom.com.

Cosmic Barista

Cosmic Barista

For four years, a Southside coffee shop has specialized in serving up the metaphysical.

 

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Coffees and herbal teas, as well as a fascinating collection of knives and swords are among the amenities at the coffee and book shop.(Photos by Owen Stayner.) (click for larger version)

 

March 17, 2011

I’ve always been curious about the occult world, mostly because of my grandmother. Though a devout Baptist, she had a mild flirtation with metaphysical culture. My grandmother claimed to have seen her mother’s ghost wandering around the backyard on a few occasions, and had personal clairvoyant readings performed by famed psychic Edgar Cayce, who operated a photography studio in Selma, Alabama, (our home town) from 1914 to the early 1920s. She even owned a silverware pattern that featured what appeared to be the head of a pagan deity on each piece. Whenever her grandchildren spent the night at her house, she would set aside her National Enquirer and assorted Hollywood tabloids after dark and pull out a deck of tarot cards to read our fortunes.

So when I heard about a “psychic fair” at a Southside coffeehouse and bookstore called Books, Beans, and Candles (“Alabama’s largest Metaphysical Coffee shoppe”), I couldn’t resist a Saturday afternoon visit. Inside, a half-dozen psychic readers were set up on both floors of the shop divining (fortune telling is the more familiar phrase) via several methods: spreading tarot cards, throwing runes (wooden or stone objects with ancient alphabetical letters on each), reading auras, doing past-life regressions, or performing geomancy (a method of divination that involves interpreting patterns formed by tossed stones). I had two readings done, one each with tarot cards and runes. The special fair price was $10 for 15 minutes. Both readings had eerie similarities, and the rune tossing mentioned a recent inheritance (I had recently inherited my grandmother’s mystical-looking silverware).

A few days later, Books, Beans, and Candles shop owner Mitchell Hagood sat down with me to expound upon metaphysical culture. He was quick to point out that the capacity to divine psychic readings is not as selective as one might think.

“What’s amazing is everybody has the ability, but some people are more gifted,” Hagood says. “It’s the ability to tap into it, to let things go and understand that there are so many different things that we just don’t understand or why it works. There’s a conscious energy out there and one can tap into it, but it takes a lot of studying.”

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Jackal-headed Egyptian deity Anubis is prominent throughout the shop. (click for larger version)

 

Books, Beans, and Candles opened in 2007 next to Zydeco, on 20th Street South. A year later it moved up the street to its present location at 1620 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. South. The swords mounted on the shop’s walls are from Hagood’s personal collection. A few are for sale. “I love swords. I love medieval antiquities,” he admits. “In our group, most people are pulled to the medieval concept. It’s sort of ‘get back to your roots,’ but I do like indoor plumbing. Some people go, ‘Oh, cool! It’s a castle.’ I don’t want to live in a castle.”

Statues and images of Anubis, a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology—here dubbed the “patron god of the shop”—are scattered throughout. The coffee- and bookshop has a community vibe, as a place where regulars gather to discuss a broad range of topics. “It was not the intention. That was not my plan,” Hagood explains of the “gathering place” nature of the store, where psychic readings are performed for a fee throughout the week. “I planned on going home at seven o’clock every night, not sometimes one or two in the morning. But because of that, it’s definitely been more fulfilling. We all have our callings, I guess.”

Hagood says that the psychic fairs that Books, Beans, and Candles holds twice a year are designed to give curiosity seekers a taste of what a metaphysical store has to offer. “Psychic fair readings are quick. Most readings [typically] last 30 minutes to an hour,” he says. Some seeking readings become emotional during the process. “People sometimes cry. One thing I do with my readings, when I see something bad that they’re about to go through, my whole point is to tell them, ‘You’re doing this so you can change,’” he explains.

The shop draws an eclectic clientele interested in exploring various forms of spirituality. “Everyone comes to the [metaphysical] community in different ways. Everyone has their own path, their own set of beliefs,” the shop’s owner says. “How you grow up ends up shaping you, what you believe and how you believe it. Some people have these epiphanies, this enlightenment. Mine started when I was five. Certain events made me start questioning things. It wasn’t until much later that I knew there was a term for it, whether you want to call it Wicca or witchcraft or paganism. I’m part Cherokee, so I got really in touch with my Native American heritage. Nature always seemed predominant in everything I did, that connection, that feeling I get when I’m in the woods and things.”

Hagood also embraces Celtic tradition, which explains why “the shop has a little more flair to that side.” Besides pagans, the store attracts Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and even atheists. “You can walk into our shop and ask [patrons] what they believe, and you’ll get a different answer from every single person in here,” he says. “Here, we’re very much about individual spirituality. The beauty of our shop is that everybody is welcome. We’re intolerant to intolerance.”

Hagood describes tarot, which employs a deck that usually consists of 78 cards, with some depicting “virtues, vices, and elemental forces,” according to most definitions. “What seems to be random is not really random,” Hagood explains, referring to the patterns that emerge from a spread tarot deck. “If one believes there’s an order to the universe, then things happen for a reason. Or could it be our brains trying to view things in an orderly fashion? How do we know?”

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Dragons—also the mascot for UAB—adorn the shop. (click for larger version)

 

He explains the tarot divination process: “After the deck has been shuffled [by someone receiving a reading], the cards are laid out and the pattern of the spread cards gives a pertinent reading,” Hagood says. “And you know what? Sometimes I miss. And if I’m off, I’m off, man. Sorry. I don’t always charge you for it, because I missed it. But it’s rare. I’d say, probably in four years, [I've missed] twice. But integrity is extremely important. Our psychic readers are phenomenal. Everybody who reads [tarot] here gets tested. My reputation’s on the line. When someone walks in and they get a reading, I want to know that it’s a good reading.”

The testing of readers is done yearly by Hagood and his wife, Willow (the name she uses to give readings). “When I test somebody, I hand them the cards and say, ‘Go.’ I just sit here, no facial expressions, nothing. And the reader has to do a complete reading for me,” Hagood says. “And if you get it right, good. And if you don’t, go back and practice more. And I don’t mean get it close. They have to get it perfect. If they don’t, they don’t read. Everyone here has been perfect, freakishly on the money. Then you get up and do it for my wife, and she’s probably harder [on readers] than I am.”

All readings are confidential. “Readings are very private. It’s weird. I won’t say we’re therapists, but we treat divination in a lot of the same ways,” Hagood says. “When I do a reading for you, I don’t talk about it to anyone else. Trust me, I’ve had readings like, ‘Boom boom . . . you’re having an affair.’” There are certain areas into which he will not allow his readers to inquire. “We’ve had people ask, ‘My son’s committed suicide, is he in heaven?’ That type of reading will not be done here because that person needs professional help to deal with this anguish.”

A reader known as Skagi reads tarot a couple of nights a week at the shop. He came to the psychic world trying to prove a friend had been misguided by bogus tarot readings. He soon changed his opinion. “I was trying to call b.s. on the guy but the more I looked into it, the wider the scope became and the more things made sense,” Skagi admits, then adds, laughing, “and I’m still trying to prove that he’s full of b.s” A reader for nearly 20 years, he discussed the awkwardness of sharing divinations that carry a gloomy forecast.

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Objects affiliated with psychic culture enhance the store’s metaphysical aura. (click for larger version)

 

“Each client is different and part of the skill is knowing that difference and understanding it and providing it in the most compassionate way,” he says. “In all the years I’ve been reading I’ve never seen: ‘Oh my goodness! You’re going to die next week.’ But there are times when I look at the cards and I have to go, ‘OK, this is not going to end the way you want it to end. Sorry. Let’s see what it has to tell us about how to manage that.’ I don’t believe in destiny in the sense that a lot of people think of it. If you see a card in a position of final outcome, well, that’s not the final outcome, it’s a potential outcome. It’s basically a way for folks to look within themselves and to either handle what may be coming or to prepare for it, or to make changes so that it doesn’t.”

Lilith has been giving readings for friends for a decade. “I didn’t start doing it more publicly until maybe five years ago, unless you want to count what I was doing in high school. I had some playing cards and I just took the face cards out and told some people a few things based on whatever they drew out of it.”

Tarot readings and other forms of sortilege have become popular as entertainment for groups seeking fortune-tellers, including clientele as diverse as the McWane Science Center, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Talladega Superspeedway.

“One of the main requests we’ll have is, ‘I want a psychic reader,’” Hagood says. “At [a recent gig at] the McWane Center, I was thinking it’s going to be teenage girls. Ha! There were more women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s there seeking readings.” A NASCAR race was the oddest location ever requested for a divination, Hagood says. “A lady called me and said there’s a corporate event at Talladega looking for a tarot card reader,” he recalls, laughing. “She offered a price and we accepted. Suddenly, I realized, ‘That’s a freakin’ race! Are they insane? That’s 100,000 people drinking? They’re nuts!’ My wife Willow is really good. I sent her but I basically went along as her bodyguard. I was worried about her safety, so I took my gun with me but they confiscated it and gave it back when I left. They had a tent set up, it was done very professionally. I was shocked at how many people were receptive to it. This was the day before the big race, but there were still cars racing on the track. Willow would let the cars go by and then start talking again.”

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Books, Beans, and Candles offers psychic readings throughout the week. (click for larger version)

 

“I always tell those who hire us for events, ‘You understand that we will give real readings, we will not give out lies. We’re not going to give fluff out.’ Now, we’ll do our best to make it positive if we can. But if we see it, we call it,” Hagood says.

Hagood says he feels blessed to be where he is, doing what he loves and believes in. “I truly love to come here to the shop. I love the people and I love the conversations. And I mean, you talk about some weird conversations,” he says, laughing. “Society dictates what’s normal and what’s not. The shop’s a special place. You’ll get some flaky people, but who doesn’t? That just adds another persona to the shop.” &

Books, Beans, and Candles, 1620 Richard Arrington, Jr., Blvd. Open Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sunday, noon–7 p.m. Details: 453-4636, www.bookbeancandle.com.

America’s Girl Singer — APT airs the story of vocalist Rosemary Clooney

America’s Girl Singer

APT airs the story of vocalist Rosemary Clooney.

“She could find the center of a note and just nail it,” Frank Sinatra remarked of legendary singer Rosemary Clooney. Clooney’s wondrous ability to seduce an audience with pop standards from the classic American songbook is documented in the PBS special “Rosemary Clooney: Girl Singer,” narrated by Carol Burnett. Performances on the program are drawn from Clooney’s 1956-57 weekly television series, where her stunning good looks and deep, rich vocals cast a spell as she vamped her way into living rooms across the country.

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The PBS special, “Rosemay Clooney: Girl Singer,” will feature performances from Clooney’s 1956-57 weekly television series. (click for larger version)

Rosemary Clooney’s first number one hit was a song she absolutely detested—”Come On-a My House,” written by Ross Bagdasarian, who later created a cartoon combo called Alvin and the Chipmunks under the moniker David Seville. Clooney initially balked at singing the song because of its novelty nature, but when threatened with cancellation of her recording contract, she readily complied.

Clooney’s devotion to family is lovingly detailed in “Girl Singer,” with numerous testimonies from her five children, brother Nick, and famed nephew, actor George Clooney. “When she was at her best was in a cabaret,” remembers her nephew. “She’d be standing up, leaning against a piano singing some phenomenal song, and everybody would fall in love with her . . . She brought sadness but not despair.” He added that she once told him that her secret was to always sing a sad song with a smile on her face. Clooney purchased the house where Ira and George Gershwin wrote their final song together, a home her children fondly remember for impromptu rehearsals around the living room piano. Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole often joined Clooney in song until sunrise.

Irving Berlin’s 1954 classic holiday film White Christmas introduced Rosemary Clooney’s exceptional beauty and remarkable acting prowess to the world. Her duets with costar Bing Crosby on “Counting My Blessings” and, of course, the title track became as essential to Christmas as mistletoe. Unfortunately, her acting roles were few. She won an Emmy in 1997 playing an Alzheimer’s patient opposite nephew George on “ER.”

Clooney got hooked on prescription medication for depression after her first divorce from actor Jose Ferrer in 1960, a marriage that produced five children in five years. She divorced Ferrer a second time in 1967, then witnessed the assassination of Robert Kennedy a year later while standing only a few feet from the 1968 presidential candidate. Clooney spiraled into a nervous breakdown soon thereafter, eventually checking into a psychiatric hospital. A 1976 tour with Bing Crosby to celebrate Crosby’s 50 years in showbiz launched a career singing jazz that blossomed until her death in 2002.

As the “ultimate girl singer,” Clooney left a legacy that will be difficult to match. Among the musical gems showcased in “Rosemary Clooney: Girl Singer” are “My Blue Heaven,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” “Come On-a My House,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and a dozen others. Nick Clooney summed up his sister’s musical flair: “When you hear her voice, we hear not the way we were but the way we wanted to be.” “Rosemary Clooney: Girl Singer” will be broadcast Saturday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. on Alabama Public Television. &

No Dogs Allowed

No Dogs Allowed

Puppies not welcome at Homewood’s Patriot Park.

March 03, 2011

Since 2009, Bark for a Park(www.barkforapark.org), a local nonprofit group that advocates fenced-in parks where dogs are allowed to run without leashes, has been trying to secure an area for a dog park in Homewood. The organization was instrumental in opening a similar park in Birmingham in October 2009 at George Ward Park on Green Springs Highway. Another facility opened in Hoover in 2010 at 3437 Loch Haven Drive, thanks to Bark for a Park’s efforts. The desired location is Patriot Park in the west Homewood area, but the organization appears to be running into roadblocks from the facilities committee, which falls under the auspices of the Homewood Parks and Recreation Department.

A February 22 town hall meeting at the Homewood Public Library drew approximately 30 people seeking an update from Bark for a Park board member Erik Henninger. The group had two facility designs for Patriot Park on display at the meeting, including separate areas for large and small dogs, respectively. However, two days later at its February 24 meeting, the facilities committee rejected any notions of a dog park at Patriot Park. Lack of adequate parking and the possible future expansion of the Homewood Senior Center adjacent to Patriot Park were the primary reasons cited for refusing to designate a dog park there. Bark for a Park will continue to pursue the issue, however.

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Illustration courtesy Bark for a Park. (click for larger version)

 

“We’ve got plans that include more parking,” explains Henninger. “In the rare case that the Senior Center does expand in that direction—which, if you look at the site plans doesn’t make any sense, as there are other obvious options for them to expand—we would be out there helping to pull up the [dog park] fence,” he said. “The bone that they threw us is in West Homewood Park, which is probably half the size of what we were looking at. But there’s not much point in doing a half-acre park.” (The total proposed area in West Homewood would be one acre, with only half an acre each for large and small dogs, respectively.) “So it appears that they came to the meeting saying no to Patriot Park . . . Even though they did not say they were against a dog park, they weren’t helping us move in the right direction. They were just being obstructionist, is how I felt.”

The dog park in Birmingham is two-and-a-half acres, which is the approximate size of the area proposed for the Patriot Park facility. Henninger added, “The reason Patriot Park is such a good space is because it’s got not only a hill but is also secluded from the other two-thirds of the park by a ditch.” The Homewood Parks and Recreation Board will meet on Thursday, March 3, at 5:30 p.m. at the Homewood Recreation Center. Henninger urges all who want a dog park in Homewood to appear to show support. &