Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sports, Strange and more

Picture of the Day
Today's goes to Linda Cato Wurstner ‎called "Sunset! Joe Tucker Park"!

Helena Golf
Congratulations to the Helena Girls Golf team. They placed 1st Place in the AHSAA 5A Sect 2 tournament. Also Helena won the Shelby County Tournament on Tuesday at Eagle Point Golf Club, shooting 276 behind low medalist senior Grayson Gladden with a 71. Also earning all-tournament was junior Lindsey Oxley with an 83.

Helena’s 324 was second to Briarwood Christian’s 312 in Tuesday’s Shelby County Tournament at Eagle Point Golf Club. Helena freshman Gabe Brooks shot a 79 to earn a spot on the all-county team.

Helena Tennis
A big way to go to the HHS boys and girls tennis teams at State tournament in Mobile

Tuesday Wreck
ABC News shared a photo on twitter from @J_Finley30 about a crash that closed County Road 52 West. A white SUV hit a telephone pole which brought down the power line. See more at: LINK

Safe School
Helena Middle School was one of 10 schools in Alabama to be recognized as a Safe School by the State. "Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange traveled to Helena Middle School to
personally present the award and commend the school, its administration and faculty on the
emphasis placed on school safety". You can read more here: Full Article

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Powerhouse, Jazz and City Government


Helena Picture of the Day
Jason Redd wins the Helena Picture of the Day with "Helena, the town at the end of the rainbow".

PowerHouse
Powerhouse has 2 players from Helena- 7th graders at HMS. JT Carson and Grayson Garner. They will be participating in this event.  Powerhouse is a non-profit 501 (c3) competitive basketball team. That has 13 players from around the Birmingham area. Each player is required to do 10 hours of community service. Over 35 boys tried out and we were so excited that they are part of the team.

Jazz in the Park
Helena will host the Magic City Smooth Jazz and the Jazz in the Park program at the Helena Amphitheater on July 10. It will be a free concert on Sunday, July 10 from 6­-9 p.m. The event will feature Rubber Band Effect and Dirk K. For more information on Magic City Smooth click on Magiccitysmoothjazz.com and to read the full new article click here.

HHS Golf team
Congratulations to the Helena Boys who placed 1st  in the AHSAA 5A Section 2 at Timberline Golf Club! (photo from their twitter account @HelenaGolf)

City Council 
Here is a quick summary of what happened at City Council on Monday. There was a pre-council meeting at 5pm then the official meeting at 6pm. For those who haven't attended before, a pre-council meeting is open to the public but is less formal and no votes are binding so it is time for open discussion. It is a good time to ask question and get answers without the restrictions of a formal Robert's Rules Council meeting.

Audit
Dent Moses and Cindy presented the City Audit FYE 9/30/2015. It was a clean audit. The auditor did note were the RSA Pension plan and its liability (pg 20) and informed us that many cities were experience the same types issues with the State pension plan. He also mentioned that our process could be improved if we hired more office staff. The good news is that the city has been able to save money in the past 4 years and each year the audit has improved. So I am happy that we continue to progress. Thanks to the Mayor and Department managers who keep the city budget balanced. I did scan a draft copy of the AUDIT if you want to look through it and give feedback to me. I believed I am still allowed to asked the auditor more questions. After the presentation in Pre-Council, the Council later accepted the Audit at the formal Council meeting at 6pm

De-Annexation 
Kendall Zettler of Riverwoods Properties has requested two items for the Council to hear at the Pre-Council meeting. The first item was the de-annexation request for land located on the other side of the Cahaba River. The request was presented by Richard Johnson with Black Ridge Partners, Graham Jackson with Habjack (may have misspelled those). It concerned 3 parcels 139 acres that are north of Cahaba river. The Council would consider it, but wanted the Mayor to speak to Hoover concerning the details and other property Hoover Property.
Oxbow Park
Kendall Zettler of Riverwoods Properties has a second request. He wanted the City of Helena to give land (19 acres pictured at the top of the map above) that was set aside to be a City Park to the HOA of Riverwoods. Kendall Zettler have the presentation where he details that the land was given to the City of Helena for sewer services by Western Pocahontas which later became part of Riverwoods. Here is a copy of that agreement. If I understood the reason correctly, it was given with the expectation of 2000 units but only 500 were used. Also the concern of having public traffic coming to the back of the neighborhood.

Several Riverwoods residents earlier expressed concern to Council members that since the residents of Riverwoods did not have representation on the HOA that it would be an issues. Mike Jones expressed that he felt the resident need more representation on the HOA and Mayor Hall also suggested that a board be formed of Riverwood Residents to help manged the property. The end result of the request  is that the Council took no action on it.

On a side note, I understand that HOA are contractual obligations and only State Law can change their nature. But I have first hand seen a transformation to one of those binding HOA contacts in Helena.  One of the best changes in Old Cahaba was when the developer allowed (or did not oppose) the residents to run their own HOA. Everyone felt more invested in the community and had a way to make changes.

Fiber Optics
William Hayes from Southern Light LLC wanted permission to run Fiber optics utilities in Helena. Their services are not for residential but intended for wireless carriers, hospitals, schools, municipalities, etc. So you wont be able to get internet via fiber but by having fiber optics ran through Helena. It increases our chances of having a company that offers for services in Helena and it will also make Helena more attractive to businesses to locate in Helena. This Council meeting was the first reading and they will appear on a future City Council meeting for final approval.

National Day of Prayer
Mayor Hall announced that May 5th will be the National Day of prayer in Helena.

Mayor Updates
Mayor Hall updated the Council on the purchase of a used fire engine and so police vehicle breakdowns. He also request the City Clerk get a new laptop. Finally the City Council received our share of the gas tax of $148k and the Mayor would be making a list of repaving project on City Roads.

ok, I think I got everything down, let me know if you think I missed something. if you want the official minutes of the Council then you can get it from the City Clerk.

Monday, April 25, 2016

City Council


I wont be able to do a full post because I need to study the audit and some other agenda items  plus work so here's what we have today


Helena City Council Agenda for the Monday
Regular Meeting Agenda
April 25, 2016

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. Dent Moses – Presentation of City Audit FYE 09/30/2015
2. Kendall Zettler – Riverwoods Properties – De-annexation request and other items.
3. Southern Light LLC - Fiber optics – William Hayes
4. Request to purchase laptop for City Clerk
5. Update from Council boards and committees.
6. Update on Council/Mayor work projects

CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Agenda                                                                                                  6:00pm
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, April 11, 2016.
6 Revenue Report - Bill payment.
7 City Operations, Department, and Mayoral Report: Mayor Mark Hall
Police, Fire, Library, Streets, Sanitation, Utilities.
8. Approve/Deny – Southern Light LLC Fiber Optic Franchise Agreement
9. Approve/Deny – Purchase of laptop for City Clerk.
10. Approve/Deny – City Audit FYE 09/30/2015
11. Council Comments
12. Adjourn

Friday, April 22, 2016

Helena Historic Weekend


Founder's Day Weekend
This Saturday is Founder's Day in Helena. We celebrate the 151 years of local history. Here is the tentative schedule for this Saturday April 23rd at the Helena Amphitheater. (Note: if the weather is bad we will be at the Sport Complex). It is FREE admission. There will be vendors, food, music and a Old Town Trolley ride from 10am-3pm.

10:00am Vendors Open
10:15am Historic Trolley Tour
10:30am Welcome
10:45am Keith Elder
11:15am Historic Trolley Tour
11:30am Mike Boody
12:00pm Helena High School Show Choir
12:15pm Historic Trolley Tour
12:25pm Door Prize announcements
12:30pm Helena History
1:00pm Helena High School Choir
1:15pm Historic Trolley Tour
1:30pm Thomas Trussell
2:15pm Historic Trolley Tour
2:15pm Steve Norris
2:55pm Door Prize Announcements and Closing Remarks



Earth Day Celebration
Friday, April 22, 2016 at The Jane B. Holmes Library in Helena.There will be a Special Presentation of the book: How To Help the Earth-By the Lorax at 4:00 P.M. Join Us For:
-Prizes
-Earth Day Displays
-A Take Home Craft and More


Papa Saia's Crawfish Boil 
On Friday Papa Saia's will have Uncle Mayham performing and Saturday during the Crawfish Boil they will have Evene Steven and then Broach and Bongo. Join they for Crawfihs, Gumbo, Oysters and Shrimp all Day Saturday.

Coal Yard
The Coal Yard will have Crooked Road performing on Friday at 7pm and Jerry Robbins will before on Sunday Brunch at 11am-3pm



Rio's Bar and Grill
I didnt see Rio's update music listing  but they are having a painting event on Sunday at 5 PM - 8 PM

Helena City Council Agenda for the Monday
Regular Meeting Agenda
April 25, 2016

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. Dent Moses – Presentation of City Audit FYE 09/30/2015
2. Kendall Zettler – Riverwoods Properties – De-annexation request and other items.
3. Southern Light LLC - Fiber optics – William Hayes
4. Request to purchase laptop for City Clerk
5. Update from Council boards and committees.
6. Update on Council/Mayor work projects

CITY COUNCIL MEETING: Agenda                                                                                                  6:00pm
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, April 11, 2016.
6 Revenue Report - Bill payment.
7 City Operations, Department, and Mayoral Report: Mayor Mark Hall
Police, Fire, Library, Streets, Sanitation, Utilities.
8. Approve/Deny – Southern Light LLC Fiber Optic Franchise Agreement
9. Approve/Deny – Purchase of laptop for City Clerk.
10. Approve/Deny – City Audit FYE 09/30/2015
11. Council Comments
12. Adjourn

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Helena High Grant and rankings


Helena Baseball
Congratulations to Helena High Baseball team they finished 2nd in the State 5A ranking and the playoffs start now. You can follow them on twitter at @HelenaHuskiesBB

HHS Special Grant
The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation grant was award to Helena High School for maker spaces in their library. Way to Go to Ms.Kirk and Ms.Swinsick!

Helena Track
Congratulations to the Helena High Boys team who are the 2016 Shelby County Runner-Up!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Flowers, Families and Soccer in Helena

Hanging of the Flowers
Thank you to the volunteers of the Helena beautification board for keeping Helena beautiful. Here are Board members Chris and Ana add additional plants to hanging baskets at City Hall. You can follow them on Twitter at: @TweetHomeHelena

Best to Raise Family
The Alabama Media group posted an article of the Best Alabama suburbs in which to raise a family. The factors that were used to measure the list was "crime and safety; quality of local schools; access to libraries; housing statistics; percentage of residents between ages 35 and 44 and those 9 years and younger; and availability of childcare and grocery stores". Here are the top 10 with Helena in 3rd place. Impressive when you consider how small our budget is compared to those big cities. You can read the full article HERE.

Mountain Brook (Jefferson County)
Vestavia Hills (Jefferson County)
Helena (Shelby County)
Madison (Madison County)
Pelham (Shelby County)
Hokes Bluff (Etowah County)
Hartselle (Morgan County)
Taylor (Houston County)
Southside (Etowah County)
Saraland (Mobile County)


Helena Soccer Ranked #1
In an article by Graham Brooks, Helena High's soccer team is ranked number one in the State of Alabama. A big way to go to Coach Zach Morgan and the whole team. Source



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Safety in Helena


Helena Safe School Award
Attorney General Luther Strange today announced the winners of the 2015 Alabama Safe Schools Awards of Excellence.  The emphasis has been on technological advances dealing with modern safety challenges. A panel of judges reviewed nominations to determine a winner from each of the eight state school board districts as well as private schools for each state region. Helena Middle School won our District. Here is the full list of Safe Schools  Award of Excellence for each State School Board district and each state region for private schools:

District 1, Orange Beach Elementary, Orange Beach, Baldwin County;
District 2, Opelika High School, Opelika, Lee County;
District 3, Helena Middle School, Helena, Shelby County;
*District 4, No submissions were received this year;
District 5, Monroe County High School; Monroeville; Monroe County;
District 6, Oak Park Middle School, Decatur, Morgan County;
District 7, Hewitt-Trussville High School, Trussville, Jefferson County;
District 8, Cedar Hill Elementary School, Ardmore, Limestone County;
Private School, Northern Region, Riverhill School, Florence, Lauderdale County;
Private School, Central Region, Coosa Valley Academy, Harpersville, Shelby County;
Private School, Southern Region, Lakeside School, Eufaula, Barbour County.


Law Enforcement Training
Helena's Officer Brad Flynn was featured in an article about police training for an active shooter situation. What was impressive that it was Brad, a Helena officer who was doing the training.Police officer from 15 cities participated in the event. Here a quote from Brad in the report from ABC news:

"To prevent people from dying from blood loss and other things, we are teaching the officers the basics skills to be able to save lives," said Helena Police Lieutenant Brad Flynn.

"This is high-speed and high-stress. We want to induce a lot of stress to put them in real-life situations, so they will know what to do should they have to face something like this," added Lt. Flynn. You can read the full article from ABC news here: LINK



Safest City in Alabama
Helena made another list. The website Background Checks ranked Helena the #3 Safest City in Alabama for 2016. Here's what they said about us:
"Also located in Shelby and Jefferson counties, the city of Helena is home to 16,700 residents.  Also a suburb of Birmingham, the community sits at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains foothills, and was included in Money’s list of best places to live in the U.S.  The violent crime rate here is 64.4, and the chance of being affected by property crime in Helena is just 1%".


Founder Day this Saturday!
The Helena Historic Preservation Committee, whose mission it is to preserve, protect, and bring awareness to Helena, Alabama's rich history, is hosting the second annual Helena Founder’s Day Event. This event will take place on April 23, 2016 from 10:00 am–3:00 pm at the Helena Amphitheater. The Helena Sports Complex is on reserve as a backup site in case of rain. The event is free and is open to the public.

This event celebrates 151 years of local history. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company sent a company engineer, named Peter Boyle, to survey land in the area that is now Helena, Alabama. After surveying the land, the L&N built the “Helena Station.” Boyle named this railroad station after
a local judge's daughter and his sweetheart, Helen Lee.

This year’s event will include Helena music, artisans, craft vendors, folk artists, food vendors, a children's play area, and a trolley ride Historic Tour through Old Town Helena. There will be several competitions for residents, including a Folk Art Show and an essay and art contest for students. If you would like to enter any of these contests ahead of time or would like more information, please contact us at helenahistory@gmail.com.

The Children's play area will include an inflatable zone sponsored by All About Fun Inflatables. We are also proud to have the Helena Belles and the Helena Fire Explorers serve as youth ambassadors at the event. The Historic Tour through Old Town Helena will feature a special trolley ride with HHPC speakers, David Rice and Jay Riley, explaining special historical spots! Passenger loading for the trolley tour will start behind the Coal Yard Restaurant every hour on the hour. The trolley tour is sponsored by Scozzaro Law and Arcara Realty. We are proud to have Mike Boody of Red Mountain Park as our featured speaker at the event. All Funds raised by the Founder’s Day Sponsorships will be used by the Helena Historic Preservation Committee to support Helena's History.

Helena is blessed with an abundance of musical talent. This year, we will feature the Helena High School Choir and Show Choir, Keith Elder, Thomas Trussell, and Steve Norris. Also, Mike Miller from APH Radio 99.9 will serve as Master of Ceremonies at the event.

Keith Elder is a husband, father, pastor, singer-songwriter and retreat leader who has spoken and performed for over thirty years in a wide variety of church, conference, and community settings. As an ordained United Methodist pastor, Mr. Elder found his way to Helena in September when he was appointed to serve at The Church at Cahaba Bend. For more information, you can check out keithelder.com.

Thomas Trussell has played music since 2005 in Alabama. His main genre is the blues, although he plays some classic rock and older country music. Mr. Trussell currently lives in one of the oldest homes in Old Town Helena!

Steve Norris is a singer/ songwriter from Helena, Alabama. He has played around the Tuscaloosa/ Birmingham area since 1996 with the trio, Robyn and the Journeyman Geezers, and later with other area artists. For the past few years, Mr. Norris has ventured out with country/folk solo performances. Steve's song, “All Those Years Ago,” is the March 2016 winner as Best Song in the Folk/ Americana category at The Academia Music Awards. His debut solo CD, Tributes to Family and Friends, was released in January 2002, and his newest solo release is "I Just Can’t Help Myself." His website is www.JourneymanGeezer.com.

For more information on Helena Founder’s Day 2016, please visit: http://www. facebook.com/HelenaHistory or you can email us at helenahistory@gmail.com.