Women climbers in Birmingham: how you can get involved

Kayla Lamb is one of the women climbers in Birmingham. Here she is at Sand Rock, in Alabama.
Kayla Lamb at Sand Rock. Photo by Ryan McCorvey

Women climbers in Birmingham are a big part of the surge in local popularity for the sport. With four local climbing gyms, several amazing outdoor climbing spots nearby, and a few specialized options, there are many ways you, too, can get in on the fun.

To give you a glimpse into the women’s climbing scene in Birmingham, I spoke with eight women climbers who train at local gyms: First Avenue Rocks, Birmingham Boulders, High Point Climbing and Fitness, and the UAB Climbing Club. We talked about their favorite things, where they climb, and making the sport more inclusive.

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How Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham helps families like the Clarks and how you can get involved

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When you walk in the doors of the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham, across the street from Children’s of Alabama and UAB, it’s clear you’re in a special place. People call it “the house that love built” for a reason. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA) provides tremendous support to families whose children need medical treatment far from home. They are grateful for their generous donors, many volunteers, and dedicated staff, and the difference they make.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama welcomes guests with beautiful artwork made by local artists
“Untitled” by the West Alabama Quilters Guild, designed by JoAnn Williams. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now
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What’s open on Christmas Day in Birmingham?

What's open on Christmas Day in Birmingham: Geocaching at Railroad Park
Geocaching at Railroad Park is a good way to get out on Christmas Day. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Sometimes it’s good to get out of the house on Christmas Day. Maybe the festivities have waned, and you’re ready for a change of scenery. Maybe you just want something to do that doesn’t involve candy canes, carols, or cards. Maybe all the togetherness has been a little too much . . . togetherness. Whatever your reasons, we’ve got you covered with a list of what’s open on Christmas Day in Birmingham .

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Animal-Assisted Therapy: Big changes are afoot at Birmingham’s Hand in Paw

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Hand in Paw brings comfort and joy through Animal-Assisted Therapy
Hand in Paw’s therapy animals bring comfort and joy to those who need it most. Photo by Andie Thompkins

Tucked away on a side street in Avondale sits a place that’s home to a lot of joy. Since 1996, Hand in Paw has been bringing Animal-Assisted Therapy to tens of thousands of people. Now, thanks to generous donors, much hard and loving work, and new volunteers, they’re poised to touch even more lives.

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Giles Perkins: Birmingham’s better because you were here

Giles, colleagues, and family with Birmingham-based sculptor Brad Morton at 2016 rail dedication at Railroad Park.
In the foreground (l-r): Birmingham-based sculptor Brad Morton, Camille Spratling, Railroad Park Foundation, Sherry Williams, Adams and Reese, Giles Perkins and two of his children. Photo by Christopher Mosley

“We drink from wells we did not dig,” by the Rev. Peter Raible, is the line that keeps coming into my head when I think of Giles Perkins. Last Sunday, he died from pancreatic cancer at age 51. This is a huge loss to the many people who knew and loved him. While most people in Birmingham probably never heard of Giles Perkins, all our lives – no matter our political leanings- are different because he was here. 

This Friday, there’ll be a 2 pm memorial service for him at Railroad Park. While there have already been a number of great obituaries written for him, it seems appropriate to take a minute to share some highlights from his life.

And to say, from Birmingham to Giles: thank you. You left us a whole lot better than you found us. 

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10 gift ideas from local makers of Birmingham including handmade felted slippers

Now that November’s winding down, it’s time to think about getting holiday gifts. You can always go big box store or online, but why not think about supporting Birmingham makers and small business owners this year? To help you with your holiday gift needs, we put together a list of 6 holiday markets that sell Birmingham made goods. And, at these 6 markets, we found at least 10 gift ideas from local makers including some warm and cozy handmade felted slippers.

No holiday shopping guide would be complete without a visit to Alabama Goods to check out Birmingham makers and their gift offerings.
Alabama Goods is awash in local makers’ holiday wares. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.
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9 of the most expensive items in Birmingham record and comic book stores

Birmingham's Seasick Records is one of the local record and comic book stores Bham Now visited to find treasures.
Staff Picks at Seasick Records. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

Sometimes a scavenger hunt is a lot of fun, and a recent trip to three Birmingham comic book stores and two record stores was no exception. I was on a quest to find the most expensive item in some of Birmingham’s comic book stores and record stores. So, my kids and I hopped in the car and went exploring. Here’s what we found. 

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Alabama Environmental Council’s recycling center to close soon. Here’s what you can do.

Alabama Environmental Council's Birmingham recycling center to close soon
Recyclables everywhere at the Birmingham recycling center. Photo from the Alabama Environmental Council Facebook page.

For 50 years, Alabama Environmental Council has been a leader in environmental protection. During that time, they’ve protected public lands, promoted recycling, educated, and advocated. And, they’ve operated the state’s oldest nonprofit recycling center, in Birmingham, for 40+ years.

By Christmastime, they may close their Birmingham recycling center. But, they’ll continue their work to keep Alabama beautiful. Without the Birmingham recycling center, AEC can focus on environmental conservation in Alabama.

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Join Mayor Woodfin Dec. 6th at The Crisis Center’s holiday breakfast

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Mayor Randall Woodfin will be speaking at The Crisis Center’s Holiday Breakfast. Photo by the Mayor’s office. 

All are warmly invited to The Crisis Center’s free annual Holiday Breakfast. It will take place on Thursday, December 6th, at 7 am. Birmingham’s Mayor Randall Woodfin will speak about how personal crisis impacts the entire community. He’ll also ask our local business community to create more pathways for hope and healing through empathy and emotional support.

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Birmingham made holiday cards brighten the season

Now that Thanksgiving’s come and gone, and the turkey’s headed for soup and sandwiches, it’s time to start thinking about holiday cards. Luckily, Birmingham has at least three locally made holiday card options to help you spread good cheer. You can go old-school at Village Paper, opt for hand-painted options from Everbloom, or support Children’s Hospital by buying cards available through Birmingham-based CrinkledNose Cards.

Birmingham locally made cards by kids at Children's Hospital benefit the Child Life Department. Get them at CrinkledNose.com.
These cards, featuring art made by kids at Children’s Hospital and available from CrinkledNose.com benefit the hospital’s Child Life Department. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now.
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Holiday depression in Birmingham is a real danger. Here’s what you can do.

Gravestone angel praying in a piece on holiday depression in Birmingham. And, a Blue Christmas service.
“Gravestone Angel,” by Transport Pixels, cropped. CC BY-SA 2.0

When life gets hard this time of year, holiday depression is a real danger, particularly in Alabama. If you or someone you love is grieving, addicted, hungry, lonely, or in crisis, the holidays can be downright dismal. The good news is that Birmingham is a big-hearted city, and we have a number of great resources here to help you find your way through the darkness, including two “Blue Christmas” services. 

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Bonfire fare: Birmingham foodies’ recipes for a festive Fall

Kathy d'Agostino of Chocolatá hard at work. She offered a marshmallow recipe for our feature on bonfire fare to make your Fall more festive.
Kathy d’Agostino hard at work in her 2nd Avenue North shop, Chocolatá. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

Now that the leaves have changed and the evenings are chilly, it’s time for Fall bonfires. I reached out to four of Birmingham’s many foodies to ask them for recipes for bonfire fare that’ll make your Fall more festive.

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Four Potters of Birmingham’s Roebuck Springs

Leslie Martin Smith, teacher of the Roebuck Springs potters, displays works in progress in her studio.
Works in progress in potter, concrete artist, and teacher Leslie Martin Smith’s Roebuck Springs studio. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now.

Recently, I visited with four Roebuck Springs potters to talk about their work, the neighborhood, and upcoming shows where people can find them before the holidays. Their names are Jessica Sparks, Nichole Lariscy Moore, Shelleigh Buckingham, and Leslie Martin Smith, of Mud Mama Designs, who also teaches pottery. 

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3 Ways You Can Make a Difference in Birmingham This Thanksgiving

Unfortunately, empty shelves are an all-too common sight at area food pantries. The good news is that you can make a difference. Photo by Greater Birmingham Ministries.

Hunger and need never take a holiday. Our efforts to offer a hand up – whether through food, monetary resources, transportation, housing, a hot meal – are always needed.

Rev. Melissa Self Patrick, East Lake United Methodist Church + Woodlawn United Methodist Church

If you’re wanting to make a difference in someone else’s life this Thanksgiving, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to do so right here in Birmingham. You can help stock area food pantries, be part of a Friendsgiving, or move your body at a Turkey Trot. 

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