Friday, April 28, 2017

Helena Saturday

Open Garden Party
Chris Van Cleave is hosting at his garden this Saturday 9 AM - 12 PM. His home is 219 Chadwick Ln, Helena Al 35080. It is their annual open garden day. If you are in the area, we'd love to see you among the roses in our garden. 9-12 noon. Weather permitting.

Cahaba Bend Spring Boutique
The CACB spring time Boutique is this Saturday. You can pick up something unique for Mother's Day. Lots of handmade items as well aa businesses like Tastefully Simple, LulaRoe and Mary Kay just to name a few. It is Saturday 9 AM - 1 PM at 3721 Highway 52 Helena, AL 35080

Duck Tickets
New location to get duck race tickets. They are now at Oh My Sole as well as Regions and The Depot.

Helena, Fire and Life Safety Fair
The Helena Fire Department and the Helena Fire Explorers are hosting a Fireand Life Safety Fair this Saturday, April 29th, 10am-4pm, at the Helena WalMart Market Place.
Activities include:
Kitchen Fire Safety
Fire Extinguishers and Alarms
FireWise Landscaping
Emergency Communications
"Get 10" Emergency Kits
Junior Firefighter Challenge
Melissa, the big pink fire truck, with make a special appearance, thanks to the Pink Heals Central Alabama Chapter. Spread the word, and come join us! This event is part of America's PrepareAthon! National Day of Action.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Remember Billy Hinds

He will be Missed
Funeral Services for Retired Helena Captain Billy Hinds will be at Helena United Methodist Church Mon May 1 Visitation 10:30AM -12:30PM with service at 12:30pm.

May 16, 1937~ Apr. 26, 2017 Billy was a lifelong resident of Helena. He is survived by wife, Frances Spain Hinds. Daughter Kathy (Rod) During, Son Brian (Tracey) Hinds, Daughter Jennifer (Brad) Farrell. Grandchildren: Austin & Forrest During, Rachael, Rebecca and Garrett Hinds, Katie Cooper and great granddaughter, Audrey During. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Lorene Hinds, Sisters: Louise Bartlett, Pat Parish & Pam Roland.

Billy was a graduate of Thompson High School class of 1956. He will be most notably remembered as "Mr. Billy", Helena's most beloved police officer. Billy loved serving his community. He was proud to represent Helena and strived to make it a safe & welcoming hometown for all.

He made citizens and visitors alike feel they had arrived in "Mayberry". Services will be Monday, May 1, 2017 at the Helena United Methodist Church. Visitation will be 10:30 - 12:30. Funeral services will begin at 12:30 with burial to follow in Helena City Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Helena United Methodist Church, New Beacon Hospice or Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. - See more at:

Helena Soccer Camp

The Helena Husky Soccer Club and HHS Soccer Team Program is proud to announce a 3rd year of Youth Soccer Camp.  June 5-9th. It will be as fun and exciting as ever.   As usual expect every camper to receive a free t-shirt, swag bag, daily frozen treat, and an end of the week special treat (kona ice is on board this year).The National Guard is bringing their inflatables and is going to help condition the campers at the end of the week.

There will be more Quick videos posted daily on social media and this year even a livestream on thecube.  Same format as before; drop offs 7:45-8a, 4 hour long series of skills and breaks, checkout 12-12:30 each day.  Last year we had 100 campers and we hope you will consider sending your little player to camp again to make this year the best ever!  Flyers have already gone out to HES and HMS, information is on school listrvs, and the social media blitz has started.  Please tell friends and family and help spread the word about the great event.

Online registration at or by completing the form below.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Open Garden

Open Garden Day Set for April 29th
Helena Beautification Board Chairman Chris VanCleave will host an open garden day at his residence located at 219 Chadwick Lane on Saturday April 29th from 9 am – 12 noon. He invites everyone to come tour the rose garden to see over 100 varieties of roses in a glorious flush of blooms. “At last count, we have nearly 200 shrubs of all types of roses.

Our garden is an experimental one. We try new varieties each year and always save room for our tried and true favorites” said VanCleave who is a nationally known rosarian, is a sought after lecturer and authority on growing our national flower, the rose.  “We open our garden each year so folks can stop by and see what can be grown in this area. Many people think roses are difficult to grow, my garden disproves that myth. I hope everyone will come by and enjoy the blooms VanCleave said.” He and his wife, also a certified consulting rosarian with the American Rose Society will be on hand to answer any questions you have. The Helena Beautification Board recently announced plans to partner with Texas A & M to conduct an Earth Kind Rose Trial in the city. Groundbreaking activities are slated for later this summer.

The Helena Beautification Board is an appointed board of the Helena City Council. The Board believes that people and places are profoundly connected and thriving communities are rooted in individual responsibility and action. They host a variety of opportunities for the community to come together and serve each year. Events are posted on the Helena Beautiful Facebook page and announced via Twitter at @TweetHomeHelena.

Call OUT:
When: Saturday April, 29, 2017 9am – 12 noon (cancel if rain)
Where: 219 Chadwick Lane, Helena
Cost: FREE Open to the Public

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wealthy, Cheer, and Zoning

Hillsboro Neighborhood in Helena
Wealthiest Zip Code
Thought Helena is not limited to the zip code 35080, it pretty much feels it up. In a Business Journal article, Helena is ranked as the 11th wealthiest zip code in Alabama with the follow facts
City/neighborhoods: Helena
Dominant county: Shelby County
Median household income: $81,477
Median net worth: $224,536
Median home value: $182,549
Median disposable income: $60,588
Population: 17,522

I am tempted to call shenanigans because last week, we received the ranking of "the most affordable place" for a family in Alabama but I suppose it is an honor so we will take this award as well...and blow kisses and wave to the audience.

Photo from Leigh Laatsch 
Mayor Speaks at Education Showcase
Mayor Mark Hall spoke at the Shelby County Education Showcase. Mark. himself, is an alumnus of the Shelby County School System. He also shared "Good communities are a direct result of good schools!"

Cheer World Championship
Jacob Gilliland and Gage Gilliland are Helena High students going to the World Championship for Allstar Cheerleading.  Jacob has received a scholarship to Cheer at the University of Mobile in the fall. Hannah Grace Smith and Emily Gruhn are also on the team and they attend Helena Middle School. They attend American Cheerleading Center Home of Bama All Starz located on Morgan Road.

They hosted an Encore Celebration this Sunday, April 23rd at the Bessemer Civic Center. They celebrated their 2016-2017 all star season and showcasing their routine. Way to Go!

Helena Track and Field
Congratulations, the ladies finish 2nd and the men finish 3rd at the Oxford event.

Planning and Zoning
The planning and zoning meeting happened on Thursday.  The commission approved the new O'Reilly plan. If you recall, it was planned for a location off 52 west but that has changed to a location off 261. The commission also approved conditional use of a micro brewery in Old Town Renaissance district. The zoning ordinance only allows a short list of business types. For example, it allows for a video store but not a drive-thru. It might be a bit out of date but it is Old Town after all. So it looks like we may have a micro-brewery coming to Helena one day. I am not aware of any outside of downtown Birmingham. I hope they name some of their beers after Helena locations or symbols. After those were done, we moved on to the rezone. The 10+ people in the audience were there for a special district off hwy 17.

The area is already zoned business in part business and the rest residential but the developer wanted to make it Special District. The result would have added 6 more homes (if I understood the two different descriptions that Jack shared) than the old zoning (see link). There were no townhouses in the plan and the smallest lots were 60. The change was given a positive recommendation from the Commission and will go before City Council this Monday.

The concerns that people in the audience had were related traffic, some existing drainage issues and green buffers. The developer did try to alleviate concerns by adding a 25 green space buffer. I think the drainage concerns still needs to be watched. I know at least three people there did not want any more house built but there were new roads built. I did some research about moratoriums but they can not legally last very long and is a temporary solution. Plus the majority of the traffic (according to the former BI study) on the stretch of 17 is from out of town. So when neighboring cities build new homes, then that increase our traffic here. Also there are thousand of houses already zoning for Helena from past administration.  It is an issue that we will continue to deal with in Helena in years to come.

816 Hwy 52 East, Helena, AL 35080
City Hall Council Chambers
April 24, 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: 04/24/17 Agenda Items.
·          AP/Bill payments
·          04/10/17 meeting minutes review
2.     Update from Council Boards & Committee Business.
3.     Project: Helena Sports Complex-Parking lot addition, bid reviews.
4.     Project: Proposed Amendment to Ordinance 428-Laura Joseph
5.     Project: Alabama Power LED Street light replacement project
·          Presented By: Mike Jones
6.     Confirmation: 04/10/17 Council Meeting & 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 04/10/17.
6.     Revenue Report & (AP) Bill payment.
7.     Municipal Operations Report: Mayor Mark Hall
·          Departments: Police, Fire, Library, Streets, Sanitation, Utilities.
8.     Presentation: HHS, HES, HIS and HES Donations-Educational Funds
·          Presented By: Mayor Hall
9.     Resolution 04242017- Amending Resolution 05032013-Changing "Back to School" Sales Tax Holiday Dates
10.  JR Adams-Rezone Request from E3 and B2 to Special District-5365 Hwy 17-Planning and Zoning Meeting 04/20/2017
11.  Proclamation: Recognizing the Red Horse Fish as the official fish of the City of Helena.
·          Presented By: Hal Woodman
12.  Proclamation: Recognizing the Cahaba Lilly as the official Helena Aquatic Flower.
·          Presented By: Laura Joseph
13.  Funding Request: FYE Budget 16/17 – Helena Sports Complex Parking Lot Addition.
·          Presented By: Parks Director Bill Miller
14.  Council Comments:
15.  Adjournment

Friday, April 21, 2017


Helena Weekend Events
Here is what I have so far for the weekend. Message me if I am missing your Helena event. Apparently half the city is having yard sales.

April 21st            Friday Night Baseball Playoffs at HHS at 4:30pm and Sat 12 (if needed)

April 21-22nd      Old Cahaba Community Wide Yard Sale

April 21-22          Mini beadpalooza at Sports Complex (Fri 3-7pm) (Sat All Day)

April 22nd            Hillsboro Neighborhood Wide Yard Sale

April 22nd           Village Parrish Yard Sale (neighborhood behind rios)

April 22nd           Oak Park Yard Sale

April 22nd           8am-1pm Helena Dance Team Car Wash at Helena McDonald

April 22nd            HUMC Spring Fest  Saturday, April 22   4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

April 23rd             2pm Student Concert at Griffin Farms

April 23rd            2pm Fleecing the Flcok Tying Events at Helena UMC

April 23rd            2:30pm Helena History Preservation meets at Museum

April 23rd          Two by Two Rescue Volunteer & Donor Retreat at Shellb Acres 12-4

April 23rd           Helena Athletics Assoc meets at HHS Fieldhouse 7pm

Dining and Music this Weekend
Rio's Karoke Friday and Saturday at 8:30pm
Beef O Brady Fri 21st Eric Hollis and Sat 22nd Todd Vuckey

Saturday, April 22   4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Mark your calendars now for an awesome day of family fun with games, an inflatable, food and door prizes at Helena UMC!  Guest speaker is JEREMIAH CASTILLE: former Alabama football player and current team chaplain.  Everyone in our community is invited to a day that promises fun for all ages! This event is sponsored by the HUMC Men’s Group.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miss Amazing

Amazing Cat

Mary Catherine is a junior at Helena High this year and is in her 5th year in the Helena school system. The family moved to Helena prior to her 7th grade year from Montgomery to experiment with her in a public school system. Mary Cat has autism and after 3 years of research, the City of Helena kept coming up in the families searches as the place to be.

Her father shares. "The experiment has been an unbelievable success. A couple of months back Mary Cat entered a pageant called Miss Amazing which is a group set up to give special needs girls an opportunity to participate in a pageant without so much pressure".  Mary Cat ended up winning the teen division and will be representing the state of Alabama in the national pageant. The nationals will be in Chicago in early August.

Mary Cat of Helena has officially got her fund raising page set up for the Miss Amazing national pageant.

About Miss Amazing
Miss Amazing is a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to reach their fullest potential.

Miss Amazing representatives are provided opportunities to grow as leaders, philanthropists, and role models over the course of a year. One exciting way that they  do that is by attending National Miss Amazing 2017!

Staged in Chicago, IL August 4-9, National Miss Amazing will allow Miss Amazing representatives to meet over 160 amazing girls and young women from across the country, continue to improve their leadership and communication skills, and to share their strengths and ambitions with a nationwide audience.

Take a look at stories from two participants at last year's National Miss Amazing event, originally aired on CBS Dream Team's "Hidden Heroes":

Metro PCS comes to Helena

Mayor Hall shares that Metro PCS opens in Helena

Planning and Zoning Agenda

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Waste Removal Day in Helena

The City of Helena's Annual Clean up & Clean Out Day!
Helena Sports Complex
(Lower Area Parking Lot) 
Saturday May 20th, 2017

Helena residents, get ready to clean up and clean out! The City of Helena will be hosting the annual FREE "heavy waste" disposal day Saturday, May 20th, from 7:00AM-Noon at the Helena Sports Complex to accommodate large items that are not picked up by regular waste disposal.
Dumpsters will be provided by Republic Services  and will be available for you to dispose of items that will not go in your regular household garbage or junk  like old mowers, old vacuum cleaners, old chairs, and other large items.

Take advantage of this free opportunity to do your summer clean out and haul all that old junk to the Sports Complex on Saturday May 20th from 7AM-Noon for free disposal!

Public works staff will be on site to direct and assist.
Due to environmental regulations, NO chemicals, petroleum, corrosives, batteries, tires or paints can be accepted.

This SERVICE is provided for CITY OF HELENA RESIDENTS ONLY, no yard debris disposal is allowed, no commercial contractor debris allowed.

Homes, Honors and Helena

Most Affordable Ranking
Helena was ranked #1 in Alabama recently as the most affordable place to live. The only other city in Shelby County to make the top 10 was Calera. The ranking was calculated using several factors including closing cost, average Mtg payment and property tax. See full article here.

One factor has always been a concern to me. Helena operates on a balance budget each year but things always get tight because of Helena low property tax, It has caused Helena to look toward sales tax which mean more businesses. I feel that residents will one take have to address the imbalance one day or Helena will have issues that will lead us to be a less than ideal community. Here is how Helena compares to other cities in Shelby County on its property tax:

Birmingham 36.2 (for comparison)
Hoover 30.5
Pelham 14.0
Alabaster 10.0
Calera 10.0
Columbiana 10.0
Leeds 9.2
Montevallo 7.0
Helena 5.0 from and there are several more at 5 and lower

Distinguished Young Women of Shelby County
Nominate your daughter or student to be the next Distinguished Young Women of Shelby County. The deadline to turn in all paperwork and participate in the Distinguished Young Women of Shelby County Class of 2018 program is May 1st. Sign up online at and email for additional paperwork.

Congrats to the students of the HHS Yearbook Staff and Mrs. Burnside. The Helena High yearbook design received an Honorable Mention Recognition recently on their overall design and layout. Way to go

Helena Track
Helena had an excellant showing at the  Shelby County Championship. The men finished 2nd and the women finished 3rd. Here are some of the highlights posted on their feed:

In the 4x1 run they set a new record and take 1st place. Great job Jeremy, Cade, Justin
Justin Stuckey finished 2nd in Long Jump
Kirsen Gardner finished 1st in Shot Put and Discus (she is also the State Champ)

Allison Tanner finished 1st in Long Jump and 2nd in High Jump
Erin Fuller finished 3rd in Shot Put
Laurel Ling finished 3rd in Javelin

Jordan Wallace finished 1st in Triple Jump
Connor Tiffin finished 3rd in High Jump!

Helena Soccer
Helena's latest win has secured them  at least a runner-up finish in the Class 6A Area 7 standings. You can read more here:Source