Thursday, March 05, 2015

Award and Honors in Helena

Since my work closing early today I decide to post early...

Helena Creative Writer
Congratulations to Madison Crain and Hannah Crowe. they both won Certificates of Merit for their poetry in the Alabama Writers' Forum statewide contest. Way to Go!

Wish Granted 
Laura Brookhart published this wonderful story about a very special girl in Helena who had her wish granted. This March 27th the Make a Wish Foundation will send her to Disney World to have a special Frozen event . She has been diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome. You may recognize her mother who works at Publix. Please read this wonderful story HERE.

Captain Majorette
Congratulations to Helena's Mallory Sisk for being named the 2015 UAB Majorette Captain. Please go out there and cheer them on at the next game!

Photo from Graham Brooks Article
Coach Laatsch Wins Award
Congrats to Helena High School's basketball coach Chris Laatsch who received coaches award. He led our young men to the  "AHSAA Sub-Regional 5A Tournament appearance in the first year the program has been in existence"... "Laatsch was presented the James Perryman Coaches Recognition Award". You can read all about it at  LINK

Photo of Ron Holly by Laura Brookhart 
Cool Your Caboose
Laura Brookhart wrote an article about Rio's Bar and Grill effort to raise money for the Helena Caboose. You can read all about it Major Dundee (aka Ron Holly) and the Red Caboose that serves as a Welcome Center in Helena. Read all more at Full Story

Helena Band
Linda Wurstner shared this wonderful photo of the Helena High School Bands at the Music Performance Assessment Festival for High Schools in District IV - March 4, 2015

Perfect Score
Sandra Murray‎ shared, "Congratulations to the HHS Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, who each earned all 1's in the District IV Music Performance Assessment today"!

Upcoming Helena Events

March 7-8th Spring Cleaning Trash Collection at Cahaba Bend Church
March 13th, 14th and 15th  Beadapalooza Weekend
March 14th Clean the Cahaba 8am-1pm
March 14th HMS Choir Fundraiser 6pm
March 22nd OC Easter Egg Hunt
March 28th Easter Egg Hunt
April 4th First Fridays in Helena
April 10th 11th Old Cahaba Neighbor yard sale
April  10-12th HES Spring Fling
April 11th  Helena Cumberland Presbyterian Church SPRING BAZAAR
April 18th Helena Founder’s Day celebration at Amphitheater
May 8th and 9th Buck Creek Festival at Amphitheater
June: Movies in the Park on Friday at Sundown at Amphitheater
June: Helena Market Days on Saturday morning 8am-Noon at Amphitheater
July 23, 24th HUMC Consignment Sale (not sure if i got this date right)

Schools Closed

All Shelby and Jefferson schools are Closed today March 5th 2015 due to the threat of weather

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Friends, Roads and Businessmen

 Friends, Roads and Businessmen...lend me your ear. Ok, this is two Days worth of news in one post so I didnt get to edit very well.
Board Membership
Do you want to serve on the Board of Friends of Helena Schools?
The Friends of Helena Schools is accepting applicants. The group was original formed by residents who pressed for the creation of a Helena schools and local principals serve as Ex officio members  but now you can be as well. The FOHS is an official 501(c) charity that raises funds by unique means such as grants and online donations. They are currently the sponsors the Welcome Bags for new residents and an annual BBQ cook-off at the Helena Farmer's Market.  You can serve the greater good in the community by applying with the following information to this
Age of Student
Reason for wanting to Serve:
Email Address

Helena Business
The Helena Business Association held its monthly business meeting with a speech from the Mayor of Helena, Mark Hall, about the happenings in Helena. Also David Schlueter and Henry Neff were honored (both great guys). You can read a article about the event from Graham Brooks HERE

Helena Sports
Congratulations to the youth of Helena who are break records and earning honors
Helena High Softball team  beat Leeds 15 - 4
HHS Golf Team beat West Blocton and Jemison
HHS JV soccer team beat Pelham 2-1
HMS Baseball swept Chelsea
You can keep track of all theses sports by checking out the Helena Athletic Association facebook which is always on top of what is happening.

Read Across America
I was honored to be able to put on my top hat and read for Kimberly Fain's class at the  Dr.Seuss Day and Read Across America event in Helena.

Cure Race
Tom shared their is a race in Helena on April 4 sponsored by OHOH to help fight childhood cancer. You can join up for it at

Founder's Day
Check out the cool new banners in Old Town Helena to get ready for Helena Founder's Day on April 18th!

Papa Saia's Schedule
Tammy from Papa Saia's shared their schedule with me:
Thursday 3-5 Breck and Tommy from Deputy 5
Friday 3-6 Mulligans Last Resort
Saturday 3-7 Jason Mayo
New food specials every weekend
Shrimp and Grits Friday March 6th
Also on March 21st they will be celebrating with a Crawfish Bowl

City of Helena Updates
Lots of information about what is happening in Helena so I tried to group them in categories with the City Council Notes,

Parks and Recreation

Stephen Hauck
Season Opening
 This Saturday (March 7th) will be the Season Opening for Baseball in Helena. Parks Director Jason Powers said the celebration will begin at 9am at the Helena Sports complex and last for 5 hours. After all the teams around announced (10ish) they will throw out the first pitch. Helena resident and news celebrity Stephen Hauck was chosen to throw out the first pitch. They will have bouncing houses, games, and of course hotdogs!

Park Fences
There has been several concerns with the temporary fence at Joe Tucker ball field. The Mayor asked the Council to approve a new permanent fence installation at Joe Tucker Park. It would have two gates and cost $27k to construct. It was approved.

HMS Fence
The Principal and Coach of Helena Middle school has asked the Council to construct a fence around the HMS football field. The field has been repeatedly vandalized by people on dirt bikes,4-wheeler and trucks. Mike Jones said that the price should be around $15,000. The fence will be paid from the 1 cent sales school fund and not the general budget.

Joe Tucker Playground
The City is having to address several broken items at the playgrounds at Joe Tucker due to vandalism and age. The Helena Kiwanis are planning to update the Boundless playground soon. Other broken playground equipment at Joe Tucker need to be addressed. The playground by the ball-field has the hazard of children being hit with balls so a net may be installed or the playground moved.  Last year the City spent $2800 on tree bark/mulch for playgrounds and will need to do it again. During Spring, Joe Tucker will be cleaned up, and the track will be blown off a couple times a week.

We need to seriously save money for repairing and repaving roads in the future. When the asphalt plant opens during warmer weather, the Mayor plans to improve some problem areas. Mike Jones would like to look at prices for connector routes from Wynham and Roy drive and Oxmoor and Hillboro road. The repaving of Roy Drive was a good first step but many other roads in Helena are in need of repaving. Another option is connecting to Industrial Park Road in Pelham through the quarry.

Old Cahaba: The Mayor said this Summer they will be working on final coates for roads in the newer section of Old Cahaba. Building inspector George Pickle said they will also be getting the developer to add additional lighting. In the recent HOA meeting they requested additional police support for speeders in the back of the neighborhood.

Repaving: Plans are in the works by the County and State to resurface Hwy 17 this Summer and future plans for 95. The plans to repave Hwy 91 has been delayed due to right of way issues.

Additional Turn Lanes
Mayor and Council has been working on ways to reduce congestion of Helena roads. One of the biggest success is the left turn lane at 261/52w/17. It has improved traffic flow by 25%!

The Mayor wants to work on a project will be to widen the road in front of Helena Elementary School and add a turn lane so outgoing morning traffic is not stopped by people turning into the school (see graphic above) . Since the budget is tight we will need to applying for a 80/20 grant. The first step would be to approve an Apple Study for RPC which will cost around $30k. It may take years and years to get approval,  but we need to start the process now.

The Greenway
The Helena Buck Creek Multi-use trail, or Helena Greenway, has been something like a white whale for Helena like the fabled Bypass. It would the largest trail built by a Federal grant in Central Alabama in the past few decade. In fact, Helena has been paying the matching bond on it for years but it has been stuck in bureaucratic paperwork...until now.

We finally are seeing movement on its approval in ALDOT.  Amy Smith said they will be having a meeting for final approval coming up this Summer. ALDOT has put it a higher priority on the project since the money is already sitting in the bank for it. If approved, it could go out to bid before school starts next year. It would take around one years to complete the trail portion and another year to complete the bridges and tunnels.  It will make Helena's trail system around 6 miles (10k) long and connect several schools and City Parks (See Map above). It's features include tunnels under the railroad and bridges over the river. It will add to Helena's beauty, so my fingers are crossed. If it gets delayed again I may ask for your help in a huge online and letter writing campaign. (The blue section will not be part of the plan but maybe one day)

Highway 52 West bridge
Engineering work is being completing on the plan to replace the bridge in Helena that goes over the Cahaba on Hwy 52 west (also called Morgan Rd by some). There is also some surveying  work being done to add additional left turn lanes on busy intersections on 52 west but those are much further away. (Seriously, remember anytime we talk about major projects like this, dont think in terms of months but rather years and decades)

Hillsboro Light
The traffic light equipment for the intersection of Hillsboro Parkway and 52 west should be arriving later this month for Hillsboro. They would like to start work during Spring break but the entire project could last until end of April or beginning of May. The light will need to flash for a week before it will be official used.

Public Safety Stats
All the City of Helena Staff has been on standby mode for hazardous weather for the past couple of weeks. The County had set aside 7 truckload of sand and gravel for possible icy roads. The Helena Police had 4,200 calls for service and 26 arrest this past month and the Fire Department had 130 rescue calls, 11 fire calls, 53 services calls and 6 false alarms

Relay for Life
Helena was chosen to the Host City for Relay for Life. The walk-a-thon will be held on April 24th. This is a wonderful event and an honor to be picked. We look forward to welcoming all the teams.

Due to the recent ADEM auditsa nd requirement,  the city has chosen to amend ordinance 672-05 and  597. They change the pricing scale for residential home builders that will follow Shelby County and for land clearing permits to cost between $25-$100. They are also increase fines for contractors who repeatable fail to obtain permit for work.

Project Recognition
The Mayor and Council recognized Eagle Scout Jacob Rozycki for his efforts at working at the Helena Animal Shelter. He worked to improve the shelter by adding more room, better shelters for dogs, increasing the height of the fence, adding lights for volunteers, repair the shed floor, adding new storage, and a new covered walkway. Way to Go! The Shelby County reporter, Graham Brooks, was there and wrote a full article about his efforts. Take the time to check it out HERE

Dog Park
Sonya King is requesting permission to apply for a grant to fund an indoor holding facility for animal control and a Helena Dog Park. One possibly location would Joe Tucker Park.
Buck Creek 2014
The Buck Creek Festival announced the winner for the 14th annual 2015 Buck Creek Festival artwork is Mrs. Laura Joseph.

Rhonda Anderson asked about the proper way to use a roundabout. There are some people who are confused and slow down the process or cause it to be dangerous. Blair Perry, the City Engineer, shared this with me to explain.

"When you approach a roundabout, you are to Yield to traffic that is already in the circle.  When traffic in the circle is clear and/or you get a gap, you can pull into the roundabout and circulate counterclockwise.  As with any intersection, always watch for and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists".

My own observation is that everyone has their own internal definition of what is clear and

 Blair also offered two information documents about roundabouts and the video below
PDF Doc 1 and  PDF Doc 2


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Reader's Choice

It is officially March but I doubt it will stay warm with the current forecast. It is also Time for you to share your stories, so let's get started.

Miss Alabama 2015
Martina Jones shared that, "My baby was crowned 2015 Reigning Miss Alabama Pre-Teen". A huge honor...Way to Go!

Philicia Danner shared: Congratulations to HMS DESTINATION IMAGINATION TEAM CURIOSITIES for placing 4th in today's competition and advancing to the state competition in April"!  Big thank you to HMS teacher Luci Tucker for providing our students with this outstanding extracurricular activity.

Happy Birthday 
Amy Dorsey shared "My son Bryson will be 5 tomorrow (March 1)". Happy Birthday Bryson!

Advocate Academy
Gwen Godsgirl Brown shared, "We held an Advocate Academy at our Helena Library led by Alabama Parent Education Center and sponsored by where I work, "Disability Rights and Resources". Parents spent some time learning how to cross reference information relating to special ed law. A HUGE THANK YOU to Mr. Dan and the entire library staff".
Spring Cleaning 
Beth Pharris Menke‎ shared: Spring Cleaning? Got Junk?
Do you have items at home that need to go to the landfill but you just don’t feel like making the trip? The Church at Cahaba Bend has made it more convenient for you by offering a way to get rid of your discards at the church on Saturday, March 7th, or Sunday, March 8th for a donation. One of their mission teams is using the proceeds from this event to help fund a mission trip they will take this summer. Cash or Checks can be made out to Church at Cahaba Bend (CCB). Here is the location, times and fees.
Where: The Church at Cahaba Bend
3721 County Road 52, Helena, AL 35080
When: Saturday, 3/7 6:30am-5pm
Sunday, 3/8 Noon-5pm

$20 per Vehicle for loads brought to the church - Large Appliances are NOT included in this price
$25 per Large appliance or $40 for two of any combination (washer & dryer, dryer & refrigerator, etc.)
Additional $10 to pickup within Helena City Limits - email with Name, Address and contact #
We are unable to accept the following items:
• Chemicals (wet paint)
• Hazardous materials

Found Dog
Dog found walking down the middle of Highway 52 in front of the Chevron. Has been taken to the Helena police department kennel.

Helena Urgent Care
A message on their door says they will  be opening the first week in March. (Update: Their website said their official open will be within two weeks)

Upcoming Events in Helena
March 3rd Old Cahaba Annual HOA Meeting at Cahaba Bend 7pm
March 7-8th Spring Cleaning Trash Collection at Cahaba Bend Church
March 13th, 14th and 15th  Beadapalooza Weekend
March 14th Clean the Cahaba 8am-1pm
March 14th HMS Choir Fundraiser 6pm
March 22nd OC Easter Egg Hunt
March 28th Easter Egg Hunt
April 4th First Fridays in Helena
April 10th 11th Old Cahaba Neighbor yard sale
April  10-12th HES Spring Fling
April 11th  Helena Cumberland Presbyterian Church SPRING BAZAAR
April 18th Helena Founder’s Day celebration at Amphitheater
May 8th and 9th Buck Creek Festival at Amphitheater
June: Movies in the Park on Friday at Sundown at Amphitheater
June: Helena Market Days on Saturday morning 8am-Noon at Amphitheater
July 23, 24th HUMC Consignment Sale (not sure if i got this date right)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend in Helena

Picture of the Day
Helena Picture of the Day comes from John K Hodge. It is a dusting of snow in front of the Waterfall lights in Helena.

Helena Happenings
Here are the Helena weekend events that we know are happening. If I missed one then email me and I will update the list.

Friday 27th
9am-7pm Consignment Sale at Cahaba Bend Church

6pm Relay for Life fundraiser at Little Italy in Helena
Miss Shelby County and Helena resident Amanda Ford shared that the North Shelby Relay For Life will be having their kick-off this Friday from 6:00-7:30 at Little Italy's in Helena. Little Italy's will be giving 10% of the proceeds from that night to Relay so we need everyone to come out and eat!

11am-6pm Hot Flash Friday Sale at Bead Biz in Helena
Spin the Wheel Friday-Come on in and spin the wheel of discounts.You can get 10%-50% off your total purchase.Trunk show and consignment items are not included

8pm James Miller plays live at Papa Saia's

9pm DJ Dr. Bay at Rio's Bar and Grill

9pm Super Smash Bros Event Kim Coman from Zone 1 Video Games  in Helena (Publix Shopping Center) will be hosting a Super Smash Bros event this Friday 27th starting @ 9 PM. t's free and open to the public. People interested in joining a new Super Smash Bros club in our area can get details at the event.

Saturday 28th

8am-Noon Kiwanis All you can End Pancake Breakfast at Helena Elementary Cafeteria.

8am-5pm Consignment Sale at Cahaba Bend Church

10am- 5pm Remote Control Racing at the Warehouse Hobby Raceway in Helena

9pm-til South of Blues performs at Rio's $5 cover

Kimberly Fainshared  HHS Winter Guard will be performing at Hoover High at 5pm

DeAnna Carnley Cobb shared Boutique Blowout is Sunday March 1, 10-4. Several Helena boutiques will be there to include The Cobb's Nest. At the Pelham Civic Complex

Liz Vines Board shared Breaking Class Saturday at 11:30. Karen Mitchell Impact MartialArts in Pelham.

Also, on Monday, March 2nd, the library will have a Dr. Seuss Display – Come in and check out some DR. SEUSS!

Also Helena's Taylor McIntosh will be featured in a horse show in Mtg this weekend
Health Inspector
-Helena Sports Complex Baseball Co; 816 US 52 East; Helena; 2/12/15; 99
-Wal-Mart #4189 Bakery; 335 Helena Marketplace; Helena; 2/11/15; 100
-Wal-Mart #4189 Deli; 335 Helena Marketplace; Helena; 2/11/15; 100
-Wal-Mart #4189 Produce; 335 Helena Marketplace; Helena; 2/11/15; 100
-Stepping Stones Playschool; 8293 Helena Road; Pelham; 2/09/15; 96

20 Years Ago
Here is a scan of the Helena Newsletter from 20 years ago. You can enjoy such stories as:
-Firemen of the Year are announced
-The Crowing of Mr and Miss Helena
-The Library gets a "computer automation system"
-Fox Valley is named Business of the month
You can view the full pdf scan on this LINK. You may need to zoom to read it.

Helena Police Reports

-Death investigation from 3500 block of US 93, Helena (residence/home).

-Criminal trespass I from 200 block of Tradewinds circle, Helena (residence/home). Damages valued at $35 were done to a door knob.
-Information only from 2300 block of Kala Street, Helena (residence/home).
-Property damage from 1300 block of Hillsboro Parkway, Helena (highway/street). Damages valued at $600 were done to a front bumper of a 2012 GMC Yukon XL.

-Driving under the influence from Townhouse Road, Helena (supermarket).
-Domestic violence from 1100 block of Lawley, Helena (residence/home).
-Theft of property from Bridlewood Parc Lane, Helena (residence/home). Stolen was US currency valued at $9,2000.
-Warrant arrest from Publix parking lot, Helena (parking lot/garage).
-Probation violation from Homewood City Jail, Homewood (jail/prison).

-Information only from 660 block of County Road 17, Helena (specialty store).
-Information only from 1000 block of Stonecreek Drive, Helena (residence/home)
-Domestic incident from 200 block of Chadwick Lane, Helena (residence/home).

-Fraudulent use of debit/credit card from Lomb Avenue, Birmingham (drug store). Stolen was a debit card valued at $517.85.- See more at:

Helena Property Purchases
Here are the most recent property purchases in Helena this past week.

$194,000 for Lot 10 of Old Town Helena
$158,000 for Lot 62 of Chadwick sector II
$198,236 for Lot 2098 of Old Cahaba phase V
$153,850 for Lot 29 of Old Ivy phase II
$224,550 for Lot 1875 of Old Cahaba V II addition.
$277,260 for Lot 66 of Hillsboro phase II
$283,900 for Lot 125 of Hillsboro phase III
$106,000 for Lot 9 of Tocoa Parc phase II
$119,000 for Lot 9 of Hayesbury phase III
$128,456 for Lot 62 of Amberley Woods VI sector
$107,000 for Lot 1 of Wyndham Townhomes
$114, 300 for Lot 91 of Wyndham Cottages phase II
$186,000 for Lot 8 of Old Town Helena
For more details you can check HERE.
Helena History
Fly Wheel Explosion at Helena Ala A fifteen foot fly wheel exploded February 27 1918 at the plant of the Conners Weyman Steel Co Helena Ala.

The wheel was part of a corliss engine driving a stand of finishing rolls Fragments of the exploding wheel went through the roof of the mill building doing considerable damage to the columns and sills as well as to the roof and in addition large pieces tore up a side track of the Louisville and Nashville RR breaking a rail.

While the wheel itself was completely demolished the engine did not suffer so severely as sometimes happens in like accidents The pillow block was moved about two inches on its foundation and the valve gear somewhat damaged but aside from this the engine was unharmed.

The accident is believed to have been caused by a key working out from the connection between the rocker arm which transmitted the action of the governor to the valve gear and the shaft to which it was attached This failure removed the engine from the control of the governor and so permitted the engine to race with the result illustrated on our front cover No one was injured but the property damage exceeded $3,000.00

Helena Events
Do you have a public event coming up? Look below and see if you need to add it to the list,or see what events you would like to attend:

March 3rd Old Cahaba Annual HOA Meeting at Cahaba Bend 7pm
March 13th, 14th and 15th  Beadapalooza Weekend
March 14th Clean the Cahaba 8am-1pm
March 22nd OC Easter Egg Hunt
March 28th Easter Egg Hunt
April 4th First Fridays in Helena
April 10th 11th Old Cahaba Neighbor yard sale
April  10-12th HES Spring Fling
April 11th  Helena Cumberland Presbyterian Church SPRING BAZAAR
April 18th Helena Founder’s Day celebration at Amphitheater
May 8th and 9th Buck Creek Festival at Amphitheater
June: Movies in the Park on Friday at Sundown at Amphitheater
June: Helena Market Days on Saturday morning 8am-Noon at Amphitheater
July 23, 24th HUMC Consignment Sale (not sure if i got this date right)

The Dress
We are having an argument about this dress. I say it is white and gold and my wife say it is blue and black. What do you see?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Of Chickens, Snowmen and Minions in Helena

No Snow
Missy Langston's photo captures my feelings exactly for Wednesday but wait there is another...
Caroline Willmon's Milk and Bread Dance. No snow during the day on Weds in Helena but at least we go some flakes at night..

Shelby County Schools will have a two hour delayed opening for Thursday, Feb. 26.Buses will run accordingly. Breakfast will not be served. Jefferson County Schools are closed.

Old Cahaba View
 Mason Krash Kerth posted this post in Old Cahaba before the liquid snow in Helena on Wednesday.

3d Printers
Mrs. Miller used money donated to GRC at Helena Intermediate HIS to purchase a 3-D printer! This technology is amazing. If you can generate a model on a computer then it can be printed.
 I am so glad our students will have access to this technology. Mrs. Miller used the machine to showed students how to create minion character figure from the movies.
Snow Machine
If snow doesnt come to Helena, then John Madderra makes his own snow: "Snowmageddon Helena (Alabama) 2015. Well, not really, but the snow machine did pretty well tonight after additional tweaks. The kids had a blast having snowball fights and sledding".

Soccer Update
The HHS varsity boys soccer team claimed their first area win against Jemison tonight 5-1! Go Huskies!

Fowl Fun
Matt Herndon shared that Helena's Hardware - True Value is holding a workshop for chicks and ducklings. Even if you don't plan on buying some chickens, awesome chance to let your kids learn and play.

I had two people ask me about writing an ordinance to allow chickens to be raised as pets and eggs in residential areas. They show where several cities like Vestavia Hills allow it as long as you don't have roosters or something that causes loud noises. The argument is that you can have song birds as pets but not something that produces fresh eggs.You can have potbelly pigs as pets, as long as you aren't raising them to eat,

The negative argument is that the waste and smell could reduce the quality of life of your neighbors and that people will abuses it, and breed the chicken to eat or sale.

 Should a person be limited to how many they own, or how close can they be to your property? Should their coop be regulated as to size? Where does the money come to pay for some one to regulate them?  What do you think?

Readiness Award
A big Way to Go to Grant Beard of Helena High School for winning ACT’s College Readiness benchmarks. Source

Lost Pets
Christy Sanford said theses pets are missing in Helena - Quail Ridge subdivision off of Hwy 93. Terri Tillman Wilburn shared this on her facebook.

Band Shirts
Andrea Godsey. shared this "Helena Band parents.... One of my moms from my classroom is making these. Let me know if you are interested in getting one". I love the quote: Some people have to wait their entire LIVES to meet their Favorite Musican...I Raised Mine!

Bread Snowman Winner
No snow? Helena doesnt care...we had a breadman contest. Congrats to Sanders family who won the winner of the best bread snowman in Helena. Thank you for all the entries. Mandy let me know if you want a medium to extra large shirt and your address and I will put the shirt at your door.

All County Honor Band
Dusti  Folmar shared a video of the All-County Honor Band from Saturday, featuring several students from Helena High School. In fact, the winner of the music scholarship was a Helena High student. You can see it below:
video start
video end