Thursday, October 30, 2014

DNA, Blood, Murder and more

Last Game
Tonight is the last game of Helena High’s regular season.  We are currently ranked 188th in the State of Alabama and we will be playing against the 58th ranked team, Pleasant Grove Spartans.  The experts are predicting they will beat us but I believe that we will keep it close and pull out an upset. Pleasant Grove is a non-conference team so we are still in the playoffs. The game is at 7pm but you can also listen on the APH radio app for mobile phones.

AHSAA 5A Section 2 (October 30th) This year the girls and boys teams will compete at Keisel Park in Auburn, AL in hopes of qualifying for the AHSAA State Meet. There are 14 teams in our section and only the Top 3 finishing teams will qualify for the state meet. The Huskies are determined to send both the girls’ and the boys’ teams to state in our first year. (Ken Peoples-HAA)

Bleed for Helena
 I saw Kim Wellman was encouraging everyone to show up for a blood drive in Helena this Halloween. Are you willing to bleed for Helena this Halloween? Donate the gift of life through LifeSouth this Friday October 31st from 7am-5pm at Helena Intermediate School.
Murder Most Foul
Helena Teacher and Friend of Helena Library has published a book perfect for the Halloween season. It is titled Birmingham Murders, 1888 Paperback – October 26, 2014 by Crystal Watford . The book is based off of the Hawes Murders of 1888, Carrie Hawes attempts to discover the truth behind the murder of Emma, Irene, and May Hawes. Crystal also did a lot of research on this period and brings the story to life. You can get it on Amazon here Amazon Link

National Honors
Amy Turner‎ shared a photo of the 70 kids inducted into the National Junior Honor Society today. It was the Largest group Helena Middle School has ever had. It speaks volumes of the students and their families in Helena. You will recall that Helena was listed as one of the smartest cities in Alabama. We are living up to it.

Helena Honored
Shelby County honored Police Officer Chris Morgan and Firefighter Brett Gillespie at the 2014 Public Safety Employees of the Year! Both are outstanding public servants and a true asset to our city! Here they are pictured with Mayor Hall today at the awards luncheon. Congratulations Chris and Brett!

HHS Concert
Christina Renee shared this photo of the Inaugural Concert of the Helena High School Band from last at the  HHS Auditorium .

Pig the Dog DNA
This little Helena dog has become a media super star and is now the most famous dog in America. He overcame a birth defect and has become beloved to millions around the world. Recently they performed a DNA test on him that was covered by the news. "Pig is a Boxer, Chow Chow, American Staffordshire Terrier mix. Yep. There's some pit in Pig". If you want to read more about Pig: Full Article

Old Cahaba
The Old Cahaba HOA is creating a new page: It is under constructive but should be live soon,

Ok, That is it, we have a lot happening in Helena this Halloween weekend so submit your event to me today so I can update tomorrow. We will also find out who won the best decorated home in Helena!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Helena Mustaches and Meeples

Helena Photo of the Day
Shelley McRee shared this "Beautiful rainbow at Joe Tucker!! Just another sign God is always with us"!
Urgent Care Page
The new urgent care medical site, that is opening in the Helena Walmart shopping center, have a new page facebook, page. I know bunch of you have been wanting to know more details so here is the link: Urgent Care Facebook

Good Deed
Lynn Tracy Pepe shared this about a good deed. "The Sweetest thing happened to me last evening at my local Walmart Market in Helena, AL. I should have taken a selfie with this Vietnam Veteran! I was walking out of Walmart and we made eye contact, said our hellos to each other as he held the door for me. It was an auto-door. He stayed in the door's sensors so it wouldn't close! That is some old fashioned manners and class that needs to be revived! Thank you sir!

Missing Dogs
Jennifer Dial Nolan‎ shared that Reese and Herschel are missing in Helena, AL! They got out of their fence this afternoon in the Old Town area. Please call 205-706-0096 if you see them!!

Road Repairs
We are getting some repairs from Jefferson County on 52 west the intersection of S Shades Crest and Morgan Rd. They will need to do a lot to repair that intersection. There is also so preliminary plans to make some intersections off 52 West safer. They are doing some survey work but they are still a few years off. Election time is great time to remind all these officials about the road problems that are outstanding....speaking of which

Elections Ballots
Next week is election time and we get to go to the polls on November 4, 2014. If you live in Helena (Shelby) then you will see this ballot: Shelby-2014-Sample.pdf and for those on Jefferson County side you will see this one:Jefferson-2014-Sample.pdf

Helena has an outstanding history of having high voter turn out. So everyone make an effort to do their America duty and get to the polls. If you are going to be out of town or work out of town and can't make it back then consider going to city hall and filling an absentee ballot before Thursday 30th.

Mustache Day
Dawn Cobb shared this photo of the 5th grade  teachers at Helena Intermediate School

Helena Middle School
Congrats to Dr. Meredith George who won HMS Teacher of the Year!

Vote for Helena Halloween House
Check out the list of nominees and vote for your favorite Helena house before the deadline:

Fall Baseball
Ashleigh Bivins‎ shared that the Helena 9/10yr old Fall Baseball team ended with season with a record of 7-1. Those boys played so hard and did a FABULOUS job! Coaches Brandon M. Bivins, Barry Williams, and Jason Robert Bivins did a outstanding job as well. Go Huskies!

Extra Life
Hillary Wilson shared then special fundraiser by Helena gamers. "As you may know, my Husband Christian runs (and I write for), a board gaming blog that writes board game reviews, game designer interviews, and coverage of gaming and nerdy events. We are going to be a part of extra life this year. Extra life is a 24 hour gaming marathon that raises money for children's hospitals".  They raised over $500 on their gaming weekend but you can still donate to Children's on their link:

A Lofty Feat
Lisa Hare shared this article that speaks of Helena's achievement

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reader's Choice MOnday

Picture of the Day
Today's Helena picture comes from Curt Danner from the racks beside the Hillsboro Trail. Thank You!
Best Halloween House in Helena
Now is the time for you to help decide who has the best Halloween decorations in Helena. The nominations are closed and you can vote directly. Voting Link

Spooktacular Wins
Dana Bailey and Greg Risch shared that Two of our Helena-based 10U softball teams, Team Alabama and Alabama Thunder, placed 1st and 2nd place in the NSA Hoover Halloween Spooktacular Silver Bracket on Saturday". Way to Go!

Pop Plus One
Chris Harper shared he is now a Proud daddy. Henley born 10-20-14. Helena's populations increase by one.

Football Play Offs
Rebekah Henderson shared, "The 4th grade football teams are in the playoffs"!

IPad Giveaway
Charity Miller shared, "The Helena Middle School Dance Team Moms are ruffling off an iPad mini. 1 ticket for $2 or 3 for $5. See a Dance Teamer and or a dance team mom".

The Sky above Helena
"Hey Mr. Hewy Nosleep! I’m Noah Yawn and I’m a “beginner” in astronomy and decided to go watch the partial solar eclipse this afternoon after school.There were some clouds that got in the way towards the phase of the eclipse where the moon covers up the sun’s disc the most...Here is the eclipse picture through my telescope and the sunset" Thank you so much Noah!!

Singing for the Dalai
Missy Narkates shared that Jordan from Helena "sang with BBC for the Dalai Lama Event today. It was fun and quite interesting".

Sad New
Some sad news. Keep the family in your prayers for their loss."Hoover Police have identified the man killed in a single-vehicle accident on Valleydale Road on Friday night as Benjamin Thomas Giffen, age 24, of Helena". Source
National Championship
Suzanne Schnetzler shared, "Please wish Rocking S Farm safe travels and winning rides as we take 3 riders to the National Academy Championship in Mufreesboro, TN this week".

Girls Basketball
Susan Thrasher shared, " A Pelham/Helena girls basketball league ages 3-6 grade. Well they are trying to split the teams by community. We only had three 5th graders and six 6th graders while Pelham had enough for their teams. Can you get the word out for more Helena girls?  We need them ASAP. You can contact Susan on facebook or Coach Jones at

Thigpen's Trail
Helena resident Scott Thigpen crossed the 3,000 Continental Divide and is now sharing his adventure in a book called, "Trail Magic and the Art of Soft Pedaling: Mountain biking 3,000 miles along the Continental Divide.  He was also promoting the book and  on a show  with Donnette' Hammac Hulsey who also lived in Helena. Kinda neat to see all theses Helenites. You can see the news link here: Source

Daffodils of Helena
Helena Beautification Board members and volunteers planted 1,000 daffodils at the Red Caboose which serves as the Helena Welcome Center. The daffodil is a great choice. The endangered Cahaba Lily gets all the attention but Helena past is covered in Daffodils. Mining towns were hard places to live but someone, at some point, starting planting daffodils. When they began clearing the ground of Eureka for the Helena High School, hundreds and hundreds of them were being pulled up. Some of them were very unique double daffodils. People from Helena collected them and replanted them in the yards to keep there Helena heritage bulbs alive. So I think it is great that we are continuing the tradition.

Brain Based Worship
Paula Champion Jones who is the Former Associate Pastor at Helena United Methodist Church has published a book called, "Brain Based Worship". Here is a review:

A new understanding of learning based on the findings of neuroscience can propel the teaching ministry of the Church to new levels of effectiveness. Neuroscience is offering fresh insight into how humans learn. The resulting teaching paradigm-brain-based learning-is plotting a fresh model for teaching that is proving to make teaching more memorable, more applicable, and more likely to result in changed thought and behavior. It is also refusing to relegate learning to the brain as it re-enlists the human body as an instrument of learning. Entrusted with the teaching ministry of Jesus, no one needs to employ brain-based teaching methodology more than those who teach Christ crucified, yet in the course of our prime teaching time, the worship service, we often violate every guideline.

This book is written to educate and empower those who plan worship to understand and use brain-based teaching strategies. "Paula Champion-Jones is a triple threat. She has been designing creative worship services for years, she has an enormous heart to see God's church succeed, and now she has the neuroscience to back up how she's invested her own creative gifts. You cannot go wrong by reading this book. It will open your eyes, give you new ideas, make you rethink stuff that needs rethinking . . . in short, it will teach the most experienced pastors and the most jaded churchgoers to see worship planning in an inspiring new way. I can't wait to assign it to students in my worship class" -Laura K. Simmons, Professor of Christian Ministries, George Fox Seminary.

Cross Country
Heidi Buchanan shared the Cross Country sectionals at Auburn on Thursday! 10 boys and 10 girls running.  Very exciting to see how many place for state the following week!

Dawn shared that Helena's Lydia Cobb acts in her first college play "Tartuffe" in Jackson MS in November!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Helena Weekend

Weekend Calendar

Friday Oct 24th
5pm-10pm HIS Fall Festival

Saturday Oct 25th
9am-1pm Holiday Open house at Hisllboro
11am-7pm HIS Fall Festival

Sunday Oct 26th
5pm First Baptist of Helena Fall Festival

Yard Sales
The City of Helena website did something cool. They posted all the yard sales in Helena
1. 484 Fieldstone Drive Helena, Al (Fieldstone Park)
2. 8336 Wynwood Circle Helena, Al (Wyndham)
3. 1624 Old Cahaba Court Helena, Al (Old Cahaba)
4. 1220 MacQueen Drive Helena, Al (Brandywine)
5. 1926 Omaha Drive Helena, Al (Sugar Creek)
6. 223 3rd Street Helena, Al
7. 5124 Shamrock Drive Helena, Al (Shannon Glen)
8. 1503 Citation Terrace Helena, Al (Dearing Downs)
9. Cornerstone Engineering on Rolling Mill Street
10. 5002 Whitling Drive Helena, Al
11. 100 River Valley Road Helena, Al 35080 (Riverwoods)
12. 1383 Belmont Lane Helena, Al 35080 (Dearing Downs)

Holiday Open House
DeAnna Cobb‎ shared  she will be hosting our 2nd annual Holiday Open House! This year we have moved to the Appleford Swim Club / Hillbsoro Club House. Please make plans to come out and shop with myself and all of these awesome vendors and get a jump start on your personalized Christmas Gifts. Stephanie Beauchene Fisher with Usborne Books will be with us as well!

Fall Festival
This Sunday at Helena First Baptist 5pm with Blow Candy Games and more

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Your Little Red Caboose, Helena

Helena Photo of the Day
Today's photo comes to us from Tammy Ambrose which showcases on of the Helena trails.

Christmas in October
Too Early...sorry but All the information for the 44th Annual Helena Christmas Parade is now up on the city website. Go to and put your cursor on the about Helena tab. There will be tabs that come out and click on the Christmas Parade info tab for all the forms. Please note that the parade start time has changed this year to 11:30 instead of 1:30. The parade line up is listed and soon there will be a map for people to use as a reference. If you should have additional questions regarding the parade please contact Kym at 663.2161 extension 116.

Save Our Caboose
Did you know that your little red caboose is way to hot? The A/C unit went out so we wanted to do a fund raiser before the season changes. I will get a few shirts up and make a donation box. If you love your caboose then help me out. When may get a tent up on First Fridays. The Caboose serves as the City's Welcome center. Ron "Major Dundee" Holly volunteers everyone morning to hand out pamphlets and manage events.

Lots of events coming up this weekend so messages, Email, snap chat, Tweet and Tag me if you have something to share

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Helena Council Notes and Volleyball

Helena Picture of the Day
Today's picture is from Helena's Anything But Gray Designs. It shows the Cahaba lilies is full bloom under the rail bridge at Buck Creek.
Helena Volleyball
The HAA is asking people to come out and support Helena High School at the  5A Region 4 Area Volleyball Tournament hosted at Helena High School. Oct 21,2014

3PM Your Helena Huskies Vs. Central Tuscaloosa
4PM Calera Vs. Jemison

Winner of each game will play in the finals at 5PM. Both teams in the finals will play in Montgomery at the Regional State Tournament this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Let's go Huskies set the standard for the future. Good luck!

City Council Meeting
The City Council met on Monday. I have a scan of my notes if you would like to see a graphics. There was a public pre-council meeting at 5pm followed by a 6pm meeting then a Teen Council meeting.A reminder that theses are just my notes and that the  minutes can be obtained by the City Clerk which are the official record of what happened.

JR Adams – Requested to talk about appealing Helena Planning and Zoning denial of a rezone request of Property at 5576 Highway 17 from E3 (Estate) to Special District of the David Stuman Property. The PZ commission did not pass a zoning change and the developer want the City Council to overrule their decision on appeal on the Nov 3rd meeting. JR Adams presented the plan and residents who opposed it at the PZ meetings stated this opposition. Both sides will be returning the first City Council meeting on Nov.3rd.

City Insurance
There is an option in the City Insurance that will all City employee who retire in the future to buy their insurance with the City with no additional cost or liability to the City. The Council voted to temporarily approve for this month and to put on it the next Council agenda for a more permanent ordinance change.

Park and Recreation Budget
The City Council approved the Parks and Recreation budget but still needed to do a line by line review of the budget over the next few meetings. Due to the time taken with the rezoning the Council was only able to review park of the concession budget. The Council discussed shortages and how the power was billed. They left with some action items and will meet again next meeting.

Mayor Report
The fire department had 15,028 calls for the past year. The City has two more high school home games

Resolution 10202014
The Helena High School needed additional funds to complete the  Baseball and Softball fields. The original budget was not able to cover the full expense. Engineer Lee Bryant estimated it would take $250k. The Council's 1 cent education tax fund would could not support that full amount. The remaining work would be rebided to to see if additional savings could be found to complete the Dugout, Concessions, restrooms, and press box. There will still need to be funding for bleachers. Shelby Co does not fund athletics facilities. The Council Approved the additional funds and rebiding

Resolution 1020201401
The Mayor officially announced the City Paid Holidays for Fiscal Year 2014/2015
Nov 11, 27, 28th, Dec 24th 25th 26th, Jan 1,2,19, April l3, May 25, July 3 and Sept 7

Helena Postcard Art by Laura Brookhart
Your Town Alabama Workshop
As part of the Alabama Communities of Excellence Laura Joseph  went to the Your Town Alabama workshop for Helena. She reported that she had  taking the Asset based training and that they were looking at Helena with fresh eye to help create a place of sense. They had received many items but she had a list one ones that would be good for Helena to attempt first.

Historical Park or Monument
Create a Historic Park or Monument to showcase Helena's Mining History and coordinate with educators for Field Trips and welcoming to tourist. Have it in close proximity of the trail system and actual historic sites sites. Funding available from Alabama Department of History, ADECA, and US National Parks grant for Industrial History.

A successful model was completed in Montevallo recently where grants where obtained to create welcoming murals for residents and visitors. Old Town Helena used to support large murals in the 1800s.

How Do
Coordinate with the Helena Business Association to provide classes for members of the community wanting to start a business. Graduates of classes would be offered incentives to open in Helena such as  free or discounted businesses or modified tax structures

Actively recruiting bed and breakfast. The location near the sports complex was viewed as a good location. Also nestled near old town with great views.

Alabama Mosaic 
Create a  Helena History online by scanning Census, microfilm, historical documents, photographs on the State shared server at no cost to the City with the Alabama Archives allow digitalization classes for city residents. Coordinate efforts with Helena History groups.

Employee Recognition
Congratulations to Penny Weldon she has served the City of Helena for 17 years and will retire at the end of October. Thank you for everything you have done for the Helena, Penny!

United Way
A very good presentation was given about asking the community to support United Way and programs that are available for residents. Sorry I didn't get the young man's name but he did a great job. Did you know that have programs that give  funds for students college and free tax service. You can find out more

Teen Council
The Helena Teen Council had one on one time with the Mayor and Council as part of their leadership training. The members explained what they did in government and what was their motivations. The students  asked questions about their background and how municipal government operated.

Next City Council Meeting Date: Monday, November 3, 2014 @ 5:00 P.M. Pre-Council followed by Regular Meeting 6:00pm.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday is Reader's Choice

Helena Photo of the Day
Today's photo comes from Sherrie Sechrist Pippin

Marilyn Matta shared that the Helena 8U girls just beat Chelsea 19-3

Helena High Band
Sherill Vansant shared that the "Helena High School Band went to a second competition in Pell City and came away with lots of trophies (again) to add to a trophy case that's quickly filling up.Outstanding band! If they haven't had a chance to see them yet they have the next two Fridays left. These kids are doing us all proud"!

Jennifer Bradford Owen shared, "HHS band had all superior ratings at competition again. Got best overall band in division and best in class color guard, dance line, majorettes, percussion, and drum majors".

Stephanie shared that, "Lauren Padgett with HHS Color Guard came in 3rd in a spin off yesterday at competition".

Mina Godsey shared, "Couldn't be any more proud of our Helena Band kiddos". See here picture of the scoring!

Best Halloween Decorations
The competition is heating up for Helena’s Best Decorated House Competition!
Nominate our favorite house, then stay tuned. On Monday October 27 the online voting begins and you will decide a 1, 2 and 3 place winner.

Here are the nominees so far:
2801 St Patrick Place N
1917 Gallant Fox Drive
469 Tocoa Rd
457 Old Cahaba Way

To enter, click and complete to entry form.
Skeet Shoot
Gene Ingram shared that "Fundraiser for Helena High School Athletics.
Cahaba Outfitters will be hosting a Skeet Shoot
November 8, 2014 7:30 am-10:30 am.
1511 County Road 13 - Helena, Al 35080
Tickets are $30 or you can purchase 4 for $100
Bring your own shotgun or Cahaba Outfitters will provide. No outside ammo allowed. The ticket includes ammo, skeet and breakfast.Please contact a HAA board member to purchase your tickets. a complete list of board members can be found at

Christmas Shopping
DeAnna Carnley Cobb shared, "YOU'RE INVITED to come shop early for Christmas at the Appleford Hillsboro Holiday Open House! All the vendors listed, as well as, Scentsy, One Red Bead, Usborne Books, Younique, and MORE!! Come have fun with us and shop"
Haunted Adventures
"Kaitlyn Creel, a senior at Helena High School, recently chose to become a cast member of the haunted Warehouse 31 performances. Creel, who is in show choir and theatre at HHS, also has the role of Officer Brophy in the first HHS play, Arsenic and Old Lace. Kaitlyn, along with her mother, Sharon Creel, is also a member of Notinee, an Indian dancing troop that performs Manipuri/Odissi folk fusion dance. “Warehouse31 encompasses things I love,” said Creel, ”Halloween, acting and dressing up.” For the full story check out: ARTICLE LINK

Unique Day
"Helena Intermediate School celebrated the Shelby County School System-wide Parenting Day with a unique twist this year.On Oct. 14, more than 500 parents and grandparents visited HIS and attended informational workshops, joined their children for lunch and learned about the school community through Unique Me Day".Full Article

Most Beautiful In Alabama
Three-year-old Claudia Hamrick, recent winner of the Little Miss Alabama Pageant, will now move on to represent the state of Alabama in November for the Baby Miss America Pageant. Her mother works at Rios; Bar and Grill in Alabama. Full article

Role Call
If you missing your chance to be in the last moving then check out this:Casting Call for local Movie

Art Class on Monday to Paint Huskies or Caboose
Bring Alton to Helena
Alton Brown's ‪‎Edible Inevitable‬ tour is rolling through the area next week and he needs your help-- Use ‪#‎ABRoadEatsBirm‬ on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to recommend the best eats in town that he absolutely cannot miss! Learn more here: Be sure to share you favorite Helena Eats

Pink Bridge Lights
Darlene  Bryan‎ shared, "I love the pink lights on the bridge for breast cancer awareness month! Thank you to whoever did that"

Amy Predmore shared that Megan Conner and Dan Conner got married on the beach last night.

Regular Meeting Agenda
October 20, 2014
PRE-COUNCIL: Work Session Agenda 5:00 p.m.
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. JR Adams – Request of Rezone of Property at 5576 Highway 17 from E3 to Special District –
David Stuman Property
2. City employee retirement insurance plan
3. Sports budgets
1. Call To Order.
2. Prayer.
3. Pledge of Allegiance.
4. Council Roll Call.
5 Presentation of Minutes from Council meeting and Pre-Council meeting October 6, 2014.
6 Revenue Report - Bill payment.
7 City Operations, Department, and Mayoral Report: Mayor Mark Hall
- Police, Fire, Library, Streets, Sanitation, Utilities.
8. Resolution 10202014 – Helena High School Additional Construction Expense for
Baseball/Softball fields.
9. Resolution 1020201401 – City Paid Holidays for Fiscal Year 2014/2015
10. Laura Joseph – Your Town Alabama Workshop
11. Employee Recognition – Retirement of Penny Weldon
12. United Way of Central America – Ms. Sarah Ficke
13. Council Comments
14. Adjourn
Next City Council Meeting Date: Monday, November 3, 2014 @ 5:00 P.M. Pre-Council followed by Regular Meeting 6:00pm.