Thursday, June 29, 2017

Shopping Bags to Sleeping Bag

Upcycling Love
I thought this was a cool Helena story. Brenda Colburn shared on facebook that she was collecting plastic bags...but the reason is really cool.

"Do you have tons of plastic grocery/shopping bags? I will take them off of your hands!!
Helena UMC has a Plarn Mat knitting group... turning these bags  on the left into these great weather proof sleep mats for the homeless pictured on the right.
Contact HUMC to join in. 😊
What a great use of a recyclable item most everyone has".

Is that really cool that all theses shopping bags are finding a new life as bedding for the needy.
Helena United Methodist Church  

Address: 2035 Co Rd 58, Helena, AL 35080
Phone: (205) 663-0111

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rio's Celebrate 5 Year

Happy 5th Rio's
Congratulations to Rio's Bar and Grill. They are celebrating their 5 Year Anniversary in Helena. They also held the title of "Best Bar in Shelby County" for most of that time!!

But even that isnt what makes them very special in my eyes....

Ehat drew my attention to Chuck and Crystal Hamrick's little sport bar is their commitment to helping those in need in the community. By all estimates, they have held around $70,000 in fundraisers since they have been open. Which is staggering, when you wrap your mind around it. They ranged cancer treatments, from helping to preserve the Historical Caboose in Old Town...

to the Wounded Warrior Project and to the most recent which has been raising money for children with disabilities at the Helena Miracle League. so Happy 5 years in Helena and all the good you have done in making good things happen!

You can follow their events at or visit them at
2693 Highway 95 Helena, Alabama.

See more Helena Happenings and stories at


Gwen Robinson Hood shared on Facebook about theses two day seminar coming up so I am reposting below:

For: Grades (rising) 6th-12th, any school including homeschool
Dates/times for each seminar (three options available):

1. July 12th and 13th 9:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
2. July 24th and 25th 4:30 -7:45 p.m.
3. August 1st and 2nd 9:15 a.m -12:15 p.m.

Location: First Baptist Helena 815 Highway 52 E. Helena, AL 35080
A two-day seminar that begins with the rationale for developing solid, strong study skills. Using assessments, students will discover their learning style and will leave with specific applications and strategies based on that style. Topics also covered: time management/planning, organization, taking notes, handling distractions, anxiety, scanning and skimming, test taking, outlining, and more. In-class exercises included.

For more info or to register, email Gwen Hood at

References and bio available.
Cost: $60 for first child, $50 for each sibling. Snacks (or dinner) included.

Decoding Dyslexia

Decoding Dyslexia in Alabama
Recently Octavia Spencer,  who is a Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and Critics' Choice Movie Award winner, opened up with her struggle with Dyslexia in an article by I had the honor of growing up with Octavia and going to school with her in Elementary, High School and even part of college. We have even had a couple of chances to meet up again after her movie career took off.

I wanted to share this to direct more people to her story and to the local efforts of Decoding Dyslexia of Alabama which had its grassroot movement in Helena and Shelby County. The Summer is a great time to check and see why your child has been struggling in school. Those working with the Decoding Dyslexia in Alabama have been through the struggle and want to help you in any way they can.

Aside for Octavia many acting accomplishments, she has become an excellent author and you will be surprised by her work. I even put an autographed copy in the Library from her to Helena.  You can read Octavia's full article about her struggle here:

WORLD Series Bound

WORLD Series Bound
The 10u Helena Legends All-Star team to the All-Star World Series in Gulf Shores in July. Way to Go! We heard they needed  to raise $4000 to represent Helena. The Mayor asked if the City Council would help by giving half since they a City team. So the Council approved on Monday but they still have a long way to go. Congratulation Ladies, represent us well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet the Firemen!

Visit the Fire Department
This Wednesday you can "Dress up: Be on Fire for your favorite sports team! Learn about fire safety, meet Helena City fireman and see the fire truck"!

The Helena Library Summer program will take you to visit with the  Helena Fire Department at City Hall 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM. This is always a favorite with the children and the parents so dont miss it!

Show Map
Helena City Hall
816 Highway 52 E, Helena, Alabama 35080

See more Helena Happening here:

AllState and Helena Miracle League

Allstate is rallying to help raise funds to help build a Miracle League baseball field in Helena for children with disabilities in our community.
"Our agency will donate $10 in YOUR name in support of Helena Miracle League if you simply recommend a friend or family member! #AgentsofChange Recommend a friend here:

Or Call Us: 205-620-1120 Helena | 205-988-3131 Hoover

Sports Complex Parking

Parking Expansion
If you have been at the Sport Complex in Helena, they you may have noticed the grassy section has been graded down to the dirt. The city is trying to add more parking to the Sport Complex due to resident request. People were already parking on the grass and side of the road. Last night at City Council, we approved the low bid to pave 100 new spaces. The amount was around $38k. The city will negotiable another contract for the gravel and asphalt. The Mayor is going to be working on the lighting pricing in the meanwhile

New Helena Fireworks Law Changes?

Helena Fireworks Changes
What do the new Helena fireworks law mean for you?

Since we have the Independence Holiday coming, I thought now would be a good time to review the new changes in Helena fireworks ordinance that Laura drafted and passed 4-1 in the Council. Please be safe, this exemption was allowed but we are concerned about pets, children and those veterans suffering from PTSD. Be responsible and safe and let's celebrate America!

Amendment to Helena City Ordinance 428
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HELENA, ALABAMA that Ordinance number 428 adopted by the Mayor and Town Council of the City of Helena, Alabama on December 20, 1993 should be and the same is hereby amended to read as follows:

(a) That it shall be unlawful for any person to light, shoot or fire any fireworks of any nature, kind or description in the public streets, avenues or alleys or on the premises of any business or business house in the corporate limits or police jurisdiction of the City of Helena, Alabama.
(b) That the lighting, shooting or firing of 1.3G and/or 1.4G ConsumerFireworks as presently or hereby defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation on private property shall be unlawful except on Independence Day, the 4th of July, between the hours of 7PM and 11PM and on New Year’s Eve, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31 through 12:30 a.m. on January 1. The lighting, shooting or firing of all other classifications of fireworks on private property is expressly prohibited.

"Previously, the law said you could not use fireworks but some wording allowed a loophole where if you were deep on private property then you could so two exemptions were carved out for two holidays". You may use fireworks from 7am-11pm on the 4th of July".

            (1) Any/all current ordinance(s) regulating noise shall be suspended Independence Day, the 4th of            July, between the hours of 7PM and 11PM and on New Year’s Eve, from 11:30 p.m. on           December 31 through 12:30 a.m. on January 1.

"the next hurdle was the recent sound ordinance changes so this section provides that exemption".

            (2) The property owner assumes all risk and liability for any and all consequences of lighting,      shooting or firing fireworks on their private property, which may include and is not limited to:           debris cleanup, property damage and/or injury.
            (3) Minor children up to age 18 are expressly prohibited from lighting, shooting or firing fireworks without the supervision of an adult 18 years of age or older.

"The age limit is new to everything and was added by the advice of the City Attorney so even if you think your 16 year old is a genuis, dont let them be in charge of the show".

SECTION 2. It shall be unlawful for any person, form or corporation to barter, sell or keep for sale any fireworks of any nature, kind or description within the corporate limits of the City of Helena, Alabama.

SECTION 3. Any person found to be in violation of Section One (1) or Section Two (2) of this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be punished by fine of not less than One and no/100 ($1.00) Dollar nor more than Five Hundred and no/100 ($500.00) Dollars and/or may be imprisoned or sentenced to community service for a period not exceeding six (6) months, at the discretion of the Court trying the case.

"Here is the stick, if you decide that July the 5th is the best time at 1am, you will be fined".

SECTION 4. If any part, section or subdivision of this ordinance shall be held unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, such holding shall not be construed to invalidate or impair the remainder of this ordinance, which shall continue in full and force and effect, notwithstanding such holding.
SECTION 5. This ordinance will go into effect upon the passage and approval of the same and shall take effect in five (5) days after the publishing thereof by posting in three public places within the municipality, one of which shall be the United States Post Office, and one of which shall be Helena City Hall.

BTW Here is the original Fireworks ordinance scan. There was another revision before the amendments. This is just for my fellow history and legal nerds

Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer Counseling

Summer Counseling
Do you have an adolescent, aged 13-18, who is struggling this summer to connect and stay focused on mental health issues?

Pesek Counseling Services in Helena has created a process group to provide support for those needing a little extra social support, more than just individual therapy can provide. The clients have opportunities to learn how to agree and disagree with each other's opinions, both respectfully and peacefully. They are also learning how to facilitate discussion without devices. The topic of the group changes weekly and is always something applicable to that age group.

"Process group for adolescents, every Friday night this summer at Pesek Counseling Services in Helena. All are welcome ages 13-18. Topics will vary weekly and will be open every Friday night, 6-7:30 pm, through July.

Cherie Hickey, MACn

Facilitated by Cherie Hickey and one other counselor, Brittany Morrison Cockrum. Come and bring your burdens to find support with peers and licensed professionals. If you can't make it Friday evening, it is what we call an open group, so you can drop in anytime. Let me know if you have any questions or you can call the office at (205) 624-3076."

See more Helena Events and updates here: 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Council Agenda for Monday

Current Helena City Council

816 Hwy 52 East, Helena, AL 35080
City Hall Council Chambers
June 26, 2017

COUNCIL WORK SESSION AGENDA                                                                 5:00pm    
A discussion and review of City Council agenda items, projects, department, committee, and board liaison reports, and task assigned for City operations and business.

      1.     Review: 06/26/17 Agenda Items.
      ·          AP/Bill payments
      ·          06/12/17 meeting minutes review
2. Update from Council Boards and Committee Business.
3. Timothy Alexander-Brief update on the return of UAB Football, Bowling and Rifle Programs; Also, the Academic Excellence Program that UAB Football Coach Bill Clark has implemented.
4. Review Bid Proposal for Sports Complex Parking Lot Paving
      5. Laura Joseph-Discussions on the impact of a millage rate increase
      6. Confirmation: 06/26/17 Council Meeting and Work Session Agenda.

CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA                                                                    6:00pm
1.     Meeting Called To Order   
2.     Invocation                      
3.     Pledge of Allegiance      
4.     Council Roll Call        
5.     Presentation of Minutes from 06/12/17.
6.     Revenue Report & (AP) Bill payment.
7.     Municipal Operations Report: Mayor Mark Hall
·         Departments: Police, Fire, Library, Streets, Sanitation, Utilities.
8.     Ordinance 846-17A-Annexation Request-Brandon Wright/Jason Richard Quarles- 7866 Saddlewood Drive- Parcel ID 42-00-22-3-000-017.000-Second Reading
9.     Approve/Deny-Proposal for Sports Complex Parking Lot Paving
10.  Council Comments:
11.  Adjournment

Proper notice of the posted Agenda for the Pre-Council Work Session and Regular Scheduled Meeting of the Helena City Council was given in advance of such public meeting and the notice remained posted through the scheduled meeting. By general consent of the Council, agenda items may be added, removed, or considered out of order. Next City Council Meeting Date:  Monday, July 10, 2017 @ 5:00 P.M. Work Session followed by the Regular Council Meeting 6:00pm.  

See more Helena Events and updates here: 

Library Weekly Events

Week 4 of the Helena Summer Library Program 

Tuesday/ Thursday is Story time with Ms. Jennie!
11:00 a.m.
Stories, crafts and music!!

Wednesday, June 28
Visit with the Helena Fire Department
We will be back at City Hall this week for our program but there will only be one show at 2:30 p.m.
There will NOT be a 10:30 showing.
Meet hometown heroes, see the fire truck and more!!
No sign up necessary.
Dress up: "Be on Fire" for your favorite sport or sport's team. Kids can wear clothes that support their favorite team or sport this week!

Thursday, June 29 Coloring Fun
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Helena Library (Events Room)
Similar to our first coloring fun, we will have an assortment of mini paper houses that the kids can color and put together as well as coloring sheets for all ages. We have cool patterns for teens and adults and sheets for younger kids too!

Thanks as always! Have a great week!

Jane B. Holmes Library

Friday, June 23, 2017

Helena Weekend

Yard Sale
This Saturday starting at 7am check out 305 Camp Forrest Trail in Riverwoods they will have a ton of great items like furniture, toys, legos, books, lawn equipment, and much much more.

Helena Two By Two
Help our homeless best friends by voting for Helena Two by Two in the contest to win dog beds.

Live Helena Music 
Helena is a city full of artist and you can always find someone playing music somewhere in our sleeping town.

7:0pm Karaoke at Rios' Bar and Grill
7:30pm Matt Hill plays at Helena's Beef of Brady

7:30pm Todd Vickey plays at Helena's Beef of Brady
8pm Rio's Annv Party with Microwave Dave and the Nukes

Wrestling Wash
Come Support the Helena Wrestling Team and get a car wash this Saturday from 8 AM - 2 PM at the
McDonald's (Helena, AL) 7210 Wyndham Pkwy, Helena, Alabama 35080

Helena Market Days
Come support your local farmers and artisans this Saturday at the Helena Amphitheater from 8am-Noon during HELENA MARKET DAYS. We also have Decoding Dyslexia-AL as our spotlight charity and much more....

Helena Beautification Board Vice Chairman Brian Puckett will showcase his considerable culinary skills this Saturday June 24th at Helena Market Days. He'll be the featured chef this week and will be cooking two classic southern foods: A Fried Green Tomato Stack and Rosemary Infused Chicken. Free Sampling and recipes you can take home and try. Don't miss this. - 9 a.m. Helena Amphitheater
Here is an article by Brian:

Performing this Saturday June 24th. Singer/Songwriter from Tuscaloosa, Al  Nashville recording artist receiving rave reviews... Mr Cody Lee.

See more events and news here:

Of Tornadoes and Taxes

Of Tornadoes and Taxes
We had a close call with a funnel cloud yesterday. The storm dissipated as it went to Maylene to Helena. Fairfield was not so lucky.

As you can see from the 3340 post, after a storm, a city's budget can be crushed by the expenses of saving. lives, providing overtime, and storm clean up. It can also hits another critical area...the sales tax.

A city like Helena, which is dependent on a few large business for the budget, would be devastated if a tornado slammed into our main business corridor. So what if this happened to us yesterday?

Thankfully we actually thought about this already. After the seeing how cities were economically crippled after the 2011 Tornadoes. Mayor Hall listened to the other Mayors about how they wished they had insurance for their lost sales tax revenue during a storm recovery. A thriving city could easily fall into decades of debt and decline by a single disaster which results in falling home prices, increased crime, and flight of families. The Mayor brought Business Tornado insurance plan to the Helena City Council who passed it. Hopefully we will never have to use it. Prayers for Fairfield as they recover.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Alice Teachers Art

"Retired Helena Elementary School art teacher and current Helena City Councilwoman Alice Lobell no longer teaches art during the school year, but she finds time to host an annual summer art camp at the same school where she helped create an art program that impacted a number of lives over the years". - See more at:

Golden Hair

Shelby County Report shares that LSU's Kramer Robertson taking a page out of the Helena Huskies Baseball playbook and dying his hair blonde