Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday in Helena

Friday Night Lights
Thanks to Linda Wurstner who shared this beautiful photo from the Jubilee game at Helena High School this past Friday night. Here is the remaining football schedule for the High School.

World Championship
Julie Wamble shared that Helena's Rachel competed at the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky this past week. This is the highest level of competition for her sport She earned a top ribbon in her division, Three Gaited Jr. exhibitor 13 and under. She also competed in the juvenile pleasure driving championship. This is an awesome accomplishment and we are so proud of her!

Cub Scouts
Dustin Strickland shared that it is not too late to sign up for Cub Scouts. If you missed registration and would still like to participate contact Dustin Strickland at

Red Carpet Premier
Helena came out Saturday night to see the red carpet premier of the movie "Coffee Shop" which was filmed primarily in Helena and Fairhope. Hopefully, we will get to see it again in October when it come to the little screen. Thanks to Laura Brookhart for the awesome photos. Laura and Barry's artwork appears in the background of the movie.

Helena Water Falls
Don't forget you can see the Helena Waterfalls photos that update every minute at
You may have  to click refresh to see the newest Cam photo.

Found Dog
Sandy Brannon posted on my facebook page that she found this dog with a collar but no tag in Dearing Downs. Let us know if it is yours.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Helena Weekend

Laura Brookhart Photo
Helena Weekend Calendar
Sorry, I have been running behind post. The new job is taking some additional after hours work. I will be caught up soon after I get my daughter moved into the dorms this Saturday and Farmer's Market is ending this weekend. Here's what I have so far. Email me if you want me to add something:

"It’s going to be an exciting evening for football on Friday, Aug. 22, when the Helena Huskies see their first game action, a jamboree, at Husky Stadium in a six-quarter scrimmage against Ramsey and John Carroll. On Aug. 29, the Huskies play Shelby County High at the first of three away games" - See more at: Article

The Football games will be covered by APH 99.9 FM. Tonight it will be live on the radio and the other games will be on the APH radio app for your photo unless they are  the Game of the Week then they will be live on the radio. The host will be Gregg Eddins and Chris Parten with special guest Mayor Hall for tonight!

Helena Weekend

Friday 22nd
6:30pm Pre- Game Show on 99.9 FM
7pm Helena High Football Fall Jamboree w/ Ramsey/John Carroll
7pm Helena Game Live on APH 99.9 FM
8pm Hunter Lawley at Papa Saia's
9pm Whisky Dix performs at Rios $5 Cover
After the game there will be a special event at Little Italy

Saturday 23rd
8am Helena Market Days at Helena Amphitheater
10am-6pm Beadapalooza 2014 3745 Helena Rd Suite 100
8:30pm Karaoke at Rio’s Bar and Grill
Also the Coffee Shop movie which was filmed partially in Helena will premier tonight

Sunday 24th
10am-6pm Beadapalooza 2014 3745 Helena Rd Suite 100

Helena Market Days
This Saturday is the last Helena Farmer Market of the Summer at 8am-Noon at the Helena Amphitheater. We're ending the 2014 Helena Market Days season with a bang. Join us for a special dish by Chef Benard Tamburello of Bernie's on Main and Vecchia, and the soothing sounds of singer/guitarist Sam Eastman. Come early for the best variety of veggies, stay for the chef demo (9am) and music, and leave happy!
Helena New Literary Magazine
Jen Culver‎ shared that the Helena High School has named their new literary magazine.
“After a vote in their English classes, students decided naming the literary magazine "Eureka No.4" would be a great way to honor those who spent their lives working in the mines here and around Shelby County”. This is really cool. The Helena High School is built in the same location as the Eureka No. 4 Mine which was opened in 1917.  A small community of mine workers and the families were built around it, that was larger than the Old Cahaba and Riverwoods neighborhoods combined.  The hamlet was called “Roebuck” by the locals. Sonny and Ken’s father (Hinds) was the mine’s fireboss. There are some great stories about that mine, but I will save those for October. The mine was closed and sealed in 1925. The mine entrance was removed and is being held at the Helena Museum until the school finds a place for it. You can see the removal here:
Our Biggest event of the year, Beadapalooza 2014 brings together bead and gemstone vendors from all over the United States. Gemstones strands, Czech Glass, Metal, Shell and wood from various countries around the globe, all under the Big top tent. This 2 day event will feature, an array of bead artisans selling their original designs to enhance the Jewelry designer in you. This is a once a year opportunity to meet and share with other jewelry designers from the Birmingham area. Something for everyone, The Bead Biz is the mecca for the Designer to the hobbyist. Swing by and use our Professional Valet service on Saturday and survey table after table of beading supplies. Enjoy acoustic entertainment, both afternoons for your shopping pleasure. $1.00 a minute chair massages by local professional masseuse on Sunday. Tribal Belly dancers will perform to give a festive shopping experience at 9:30 am Saturday. Goodie Swag bags will be given to the first 50 shopper who spend $20.00 on Saturday. So come early for the best selection. August 23 - August 24. The Bead Biz 3745 Helena Rd Suite 100, Helena, Alabama 35080
Helena Wins Safest City in Alabama
Molly Davidson published an article that Safe Choice Security have released their Safest Cities in Alabama list and decide that Helena, Alabama is the Safest City in Alabama !!!! The list of 15 cities also included Alabaster, Calera and Hoover.

The top three were:
1. Helena, AL
2. Mountain Brook, AL
3. Vestavia Hills, AL

“Every state has certain cities that are more dangerous than others and while we hear a lot about those cities, we rarely hear about the ones that stand out because they are much safer than the average,” Safe Choice Security, a home and business security company, wrote in a blog posting about the “Safest Cities in Alabama” list. “We set about creating a listing to help you discover the safest places to live and work in Alabama.” "Helena, AL has a population of 17,000 and straddles the counties of Jefferson and Shelby. A suburb of Birmingham, it has won numerous awards for best place to live, best place to raise kids and more. It is one of the 10 safest cities in America in terms of the crime rate per capita. Rolling hills and streams are common features of the geography of Helena. It has a strong diverse economy although many residents commute to other parts of the Birmingham area for work. With warning sirens to alert residents of tornados and a highly trained, competent police force, it’s no wonder Helena is such a safe city to reside in".

You can see the full list at:  LINK
Sewage Rates Increase
Helena Utility Board met Wednesday (Aug 20th) at 6pm. The meeting was announced in several locations including the newspaper but the public turn out small. I went there as a private citizen since their vote impacts me as well. I only saw two other citizens. The rest were either: board members, employees, or reporters. I had intended to hear only about the EPA requirements that would cost Helena to make $8 million dollars in changes to our current system but I heard more about the finances. The main business item was a vote on a rate change. The new Board had requested rate study on water and sewage from Jackson Thornton Utilities Consultants and followed the recommendation to raise rates.
The short/simple version from the rate study was that Sewage Usage (Kgal),on the base, cost the Utility Board is $26.50 and currently customers pay only $15 so there was a large shortfall. The study recommends that the Board increase it. Most residents use more than the base so they should see an average of $4-$5 increase. Water used over the 2,000 base will be charged an extra $1 for each additional 1,000 gallons. This will start in October.I did record 8 minutes of the Sewage presentation if you would like to watch it. (sorry not the best quality but you get to sit in and see some of it)

Also here are some more news articles so you can get a complete viewpoint.
Shelby County Reporter
Alabama Media Group

Planning and Zoning
The Planning and Zoning commission met Thursday Night.

1. River Bend Development, LLC- Final Plat Approval for River Bend at Old Cahaba. The Prelim plat had been approved around 7 years ago and so this was the final plat presentation. You really cant refuse something that is already approved unless there is an issue. It was approved but the building inspector has to make sure that some homes were built in the right location on some lots.  You can see the plan here: Google Drive pdf of Old Cahaba River Bend section

2. David Stuman-Request Rezone of property at 5576 Hwy 17 from E3 to Special District
A request to rezone property off Hwy 17 from Estate Lots to Special district with would allow smaller lots did not pass. Some of the points discussed was a lack of traffic impact included with the request as required, dense housing, and impact on neighbors. You can see the plan here: Google Drive pdf

3. Amendments to Zoning Ordinance to provide requirements for Payday Loan and Title Pawn Loan
The City Council had passed a moratorium for allow Payday Loan, Pawn Shop, and Title loans type businesses in Helena because our ordinance did not regulate them. Without proper regulation they could be build next to neighborhoods. The Amendment passed.

Ice Water Challenge
Keep cool this weekend, it is suppose to be HOT! As everyone is doing the Ice Water Challenge, I can't help but think that the temperature is helping to make it a huge success. This Winter, I hope a Hot tub challenge become the latest fad. Below is an animated photo of my daughter taking the challenge

ok, that is it. Let me know if you want me to update this with a Helena Event...See you around town!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Water, Angels, & Heroes in Helena

Picture of the Day
Ben Clements shared yesterday, "the Blue Angels flew over Helena as the were returning from their weekend show in Chicago to their home in Pensacola.  You can tell it's the Blue Angels by their signature missing man formation". Wonderful photo and he even got it with the American Flag.
Becky Forrester shared a Husky staying cool

Business Advisory
The Business Education Department at Helena High is looking for five community business leaders interested in serving on an advisory committee. The committee will meet once each fall and spring during the school year to share current curriculum and seek advice for keeping programs current to meet employer needs ensuring graduates are college and career ready. For more information email Mr. Naron with email, phone number, current occupation field, employer, and position at
Helena Utility Board Rates
I've mentioned this a couple of times on the blog but the meeting is coming up this Wednesday at 6pm at City Hall. The City Utility Board will be discussing a rate increase due to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates from years ago. which will require $8+ million dollars (the original price was over 20mill) changes to Helena's water treatment site on Buck Creek. In the Alabama Media Group Article  it states,
The board will hear a presentation about the proposal that would increase the base sewer rate to $16.50 from the current rate of $15. Additionally the proposal includes a $1 increase on the sewer usage fee for each 1,000 gallons over the initial 2,000 gallons.The meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the council chambers in Helena City Hall.
The City Council does not get to vote on this, because the Utility Board is a separate entity. The Council, as a whole, appoints a representative. So I will be showing up to hear more details myself. Mayor Hall has been kind enough enough to share information when I asked but I would like to hear more. I know several people said they never heard of the Helena garbage change, until it had already had happened. So please make sure your non-reader friends are aware.
Field of Angels
Ken Peoples shared this. "Several Helena teenagers are volunteering with Field of Angels which is a baseball league for children and adults with special needs.  Each teen is paired as a buddy to support and assist their player on the field. This year they have 6 youth teams, two adult teams and two competitive teams which is the most participants they have ever had. The games are played each Saturday through the month of September in Calera.  It has been a blessing to be a part of this amazing organization. Those pictured are: Richard Fitts, Landon Green, Lawson Peoples, Tristin Waters, Trevor Bell, Ben Rose, Nic Cummins, & Jacob Graydon (not pictured: Colton/Kenlee Hood, Joshua Daughtery and Nathan Fitts-coach).  Please check them out on facebook to volunteer or make a monetary donation".

City Council Meeting
The Helena City Council met this Monday at 6pm, and here is a short summary:

Resolution 08182014
The resolution, about the Retirement Systems of Alabama one-time lump sum bonus to city retirees, was pushed to next Council meeting.
From Martin's article
Hero Recognition
Duane Lovelady and Ralph Watkins were recognized, by the Mayor and City Council, for their efforts in rescuing the family in the South Shades Crest Plane Crash. They were  interviewed by Martin J. Reed, who has a great article HERE. Both men were grateful and had a great sense of humor. We are proud of them. Also Fox news had a segment: LINK
Mark Hall Facebook page
Recognition of the Helena Belles 
The City of Helena Farmers Market Committee presented the Helena Belles with a check for the scholarship fund and thanked them for all they have done in volunteering every week for Helena Market Days. Way to Go!

Recognition of Movies in the Park volunteers
The Helena Business Association wanted to recognize volunteers who had served over 10 years at the Sundown Movies in Helena (now known as Movies in the Park). Those who they gave trophies to were Paul Zimmerman, Cris Nelson, Ron Holly, Tom Lefebvre, Jennifer Richards, and Jack Gray. All great people!
Photo from Bonnie Kraus on Facebook
Recognition Helena High School Cheerleaders 
The Mayor and Council recognized the HHS Cheerleaders for recent achievements of UCA Camp 1st Place Award and UCA Allstars. Their Coach Johnson shared that the young ladies were given the Leadership award from among 50 teams at the camp.

The City of Helena will recognize September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Exchange Club
Brenda Walker gave the Council and Audience a presentation about the forming of the Exchange Club of Shelby County

*-My notes from the meeting are in another car so I will update the post later with more details

Good Sportsmanship
Finally the Helena Police Facebook page shared this post about Friday Night Football
"We are asking everyone to please plan on heavy traffic in the area surrounding the high school starting from around 5:30 through the end of the game. There will be officers at all the major intersections helping to keep traffic moving and we ask that everyone be patient and extra careful driving to and from the game because there will be literally thousands of people walking in and around the area of the high school. This is especially true after dark. Parents, please keep a close watch on your children when walking to and from the stadium and do not let them run anywhere around parked or moving vehicles!!

Parking will be available in the front, back, and side lots of HHS and the front and back lots of HMS. Any overflow traffic will be directed to other parking areas as close to the school as possible.
We have attached a map showing the traffic flow for the area. Please note that all handicap parking traffic, as well as all those who purchased reserved parking through the HAA, will enter the campus via the roundabout.

General Parking will flow exactly like regular school traffic with the Front Lot entering at the roundabout and Back and Side Lots entering at the South Entrance. Once the High School lots are full traffic will be directed to HMS.

We will keep everyone updated with any new information between now and Friday. Thank you Helena for working together to help make this a success!! Go Huskies"!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Belles, Scouts and Air Patrol

By Jim Wathen 
Helena Belles
The Helena Belles organization had their 4th annual Helena Garden Party at the historic Magnolia Springs Manor this Sunday. The Helena Belles are the official ambassadors of the city of Helena. They are more than just pretty dresses, they achieve a huge number of volunteer hours in the community and provide scholarships to the young ladies. Amy Bolt announced the program is also expanding into other areas and will be served by a committee of adult volunteers. They will also have an fundraiser in January called Fire and Ice for the adults.
Popcorn Sales
Michele Murphy from Pack 532 shared that the Scout's Popcorn Fundraiser has officially started! "Over 70% of the funds from this fundraiser come back directly to the scouts.... We will be selling at the Helena Walmart on Sept 6 as well. Thanks in advance for your support"!

Civil Air Patrol 
Abby Michl shared "Since the new high school does not have ROTC this is a great option and close by on Morgan road at Bessemer airport. It is a wonderful organization and we would love to recruit more members in the Helena area".Bessemer Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol

River Keepers
The Riverkeepers website posted that they found an "Increased E coli found in the Cahaba this week; levels not above regulatory standards". I'm glad that they are below the regulatory levels, and if they exceed that standard then you could get ill. Still keep that in mind if you are thinking about swimming in the Cahaba.

From HAA Facebook page
Helena H-Day
The Helena Husky Day was incredible this Saturday. It received a huge about of support from the community. The School and youth teams has scrimmages and the whole event climaxed with the High School team scrimmaging and Helena High School band revealing the new Alma mater and Fight Song. I heard that both are originally pieces that were composed by HHS Band director, Jeff Burnside. A big shout out to all the volunteers of the Helena Athletics Association, school, and City officials for having a great event.

Helena City Council
Here are some items for City Council at 6pm tonight
8. Resolution 08182014 - Retirement Systems of Alabama one-time lump sum bonus to city retirees
9. Recognition – Duane Lovelady and Ralph Watkins – South Shades Crest Plane Crash
10. Recognition of the Helena Belles by the City of Helena Farmers Market Committee
11. Recognition of Movies in the Park volunteers by the Helena Business Association
12. Recognition – Helena High School Cheerleaders – UCA Camp 1st Place Award & UCA Allstars
13. Proclamation – September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
14. Brenda Walker – Exchange Club of Shelby County

Friday, August 15, 2014

Helerna Weekend

Helena Weekend
It is going to be a beautiful weekend in Helena. Treat yourself by enjoying the outdoors and exploring a new store. Here's some events that I know are happening in Helena this weekened. I will come back and update as I discover more, so check back later.

Friday Aug 15th
 8pm Even Steven performs at Papa Saia's
9pm Elijah Tucker Band at Rios

Sat Aug 16th
8am-Noon Helena Market Days at Helena Amphitheater (details below)
1pm Helena Husky Day at Helena High Stadium (details below)
9pm karaoke at rios

Open House
Open House at 145 Lake Davidson Lane from 2-4pm on Saturday. Visit for details about their home.

Helenite on News
Taylor McIntosh will be on fox 6 News at 6 and Absolutely Alabama tonight 10:30 with Fred Hunter.!

Helena Market Days
Only a few more Saturday Farmer Market left this Summer. Come on out this Saturday from 8am-Noon and enjoy fresh produce from local farmers at Helena's award winning Farmer's Market. Our special guest will be local winery Vizzini Farms who will have samples of their newest wines.

We will again be treated to the vocal talents of Heather Batey's voice students. The always do a terrific job for us and we know that this year will be no exception. Please join us in supporting these fearless and talented performers.

Our featured nonprofit this Saturday will be Decoding Dyslexia of Alabama. Their aim is to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia in our public schools. Any parent of a dyslexic child (or a child that someone may suspect of having learning differences) or a parent who wants to work to improve school-based dyslexia services in our state is encouraged to join. Please support their efforts through the donation of your time or your dollars.

Husky Day
Come celebrate our first Husky Day. It will start Saturday at 1pm and last for awhile. They will have the concession stand open and you can see performance by the Helena Band and Cheerleaders.  Husky Day will be our first look at the Helena High School Varsity Football Team but it will be even more than that.  The day will include inflatables for the kids, scrimmage style games starting at approximately 1:00PM with the youth flag football league, the Helena youth tackle football league, Helena Middle School Football scrimmage, and conclude with the Varsity scrimmage.There will also be a collection site for the family whose home burned down in Old Cahaba on Tuesday. For more information:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday in Helena

Screen capture from Yvonne video

Old Cahaba Fire
There a big fire in Old Cahaba on Tuesday night. I was going to post yesterday but I wanted to make I had all the information. The fire started quickly after a loud noise in the back. The Helena fire department was nearby at the High School so they responded quickly but it was already to the roof. Three of the firemen had minor dehydration from the smoke and the heat and were taken to Shelby Hospital for treatment. Prayer for them.

No one was injured in the Ragsdale family but they lost everything. There was immediately an outpouring from neighbors and the community. The family is staying in a hotel so they really can't take a boxes of clothes and food. Right now they need gift certificates for school clothing, work clothes, gas, and dining out.

Friends will have collection bins at Husky Day this Saturday at the Helena High Stadium if anyone would like to drop of something off to them. You can even leave a card for support. Her children are older so if you have some nice clothes.  He wear 34 short and Adult med/large shirts.  Ladies are asking for anything size Med/Large in clothes. Thanks to Connie Green for sharing the extra details.

Helena Sports Radio
Thanks for Mike Miller sharing this big announcement with me. "APH Radio is proud to announce a partnership with Helena High School that will allow us to bring you every home and away varsity football game live for the 2014-2015 season. Beginning with the Helena Huskies home opener on Friday, August 22nd, listeners in Shelby County will be able to tune in on 99.9 FM or download the free APH Radio mobile app to hear all of the season opening action. Helena residents will recognize the names of the broadcast crew who will be bringing you Husky Football. APH Radio is proud to announce that Greg Eddins will be handling play-by-play, joined by Chris Parten for color commentary.

Future games will be aired in a “Game of the Week” format with other area High Schools on 99.9FM or by downloading the free APH Radio mobile app available for both iPhone and Android users in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Simply search for “APH” (leaving the word radio off) and look for the APH Radio logo. Once the app is downloaded, click on the “Sports” tab and then the “Helena Husky Sports” button. IF there is a game in progress you’ll be patched right in! It is the goal of APH Radio to always showcase Shelby County’s great student athletes. Now you’re out-of-town relatives can enjoy the excitement of Helena Husky Sports, live!

For more information on APH Radio, visit and be sure to catch the “Helena Minute” from this very blog, each weekday morning on The Gene Rowley Morning Show.

APH Radio would like to thank the administration and staff at Helena High School, The Helena Husky coaching staff and the Helena Athletic Association for their support in making this possible. APH Radio is excited to be part of Helena and are committed to bringing truly local, COMMUNITY radio back to the airwaves".

Helena Hiring Magistrate
Blog reader and friend Penny will be retiring from from City Hall and they will be retiring for her position. I know several people have been asking if there are any office jobs in Helena:
"The City of Helena is currently accepting applications for the position of Magistrate in the Municipal Court department. In this position, the Magistrate must be able to maintain confidentiality, multi-task in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment and be proficient with a court computer based system. Other duties include, but are not limited to processing new cases and entering documents into the computer; preparing court dockets, including coordinating with various agencies and issuing subpoenas for witnesses; attending court three (3) nights per month; determining probable cause, and issuing warrants; administering domestic violence and initial appearance hearings with inmates; answering phone calls and assisting the public with various needs; balancing daily cash receipts; and completing other duties as required for the Municipal Court.
Applicants with certification as a Magistrate are preferred but not required. Please send resumes to . We will be accepting resumes until August 29, 2014.The City of Helena is an Equal Opportunity Employer".

Certified Official
Congratulations to Cris Nelson from the Helena City Council for being part of 16th graduating class of Advanced Certified Municipal Officials from the Alabama League of Municipalities

Gary Palmer
Here is Laura Joseph and Freddy Ard with Gary Palmer, Republican Nominee for Congressional District 6, at the SCGOP Executive Committee meeting last night. I look forward to meeting him later this month. I would hope he will visit Helena soon.

One of the old businesses in Old Town, Bead Biz, is having their annual Beadapaloosa coming up later this month. Just wanted to give you a head's up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday In Helena

State Superintendent Visit
The Alabama State Superintendent Tommy Bice will be coming to the New Helena High School on Sept. 25th. He will give a one-hour presentation about the future of education in Alabama  followed by a 30-minute question and answer period. The Helena High School is located at 1310 Hillsboro Parkway, Helena AL. Source
Self Defense Class
Christina Bushell who lives in Helena, wanted to share share that there is a women's Self-defense class at a martial arts gym in Pelham, owned and operated by Helena residents. "If you have ever thought about self-defense, now is the time. Self-defense is like insurance; you need it, but hope to never have to use it.
Starting September 6th through October 11th. Here is the link to register for the Women's Only 6-Week Self-Defense Class every Saturday starting Sept.-Oct. 11th!! (You do not need a gi as pictured; just regular work-out clothes)".

Mustang Update
I left something off the story yesterday about the special meaning on why Taylor named his mustang, Owen. His parents are Terri and Tim McIntosh who still live here in Helena. Terry shared that the horse was named in honor of Brian Owen . "They went to school together  all the way from kindergarten to high school. Brian passed with brain cancer a few years ago. Taylor and Brian took care of one another. Brian was a big boy , a lineman on the Pelham fb team. Taylor was small and fast. Always had one another's back. I can never remember Brian not smiling. Great kid! His parents live down the street from us, In Sunnybrook. Taylor rode bulls before he rode horses. He has a web page  he teaches horseman clinics, private lessons and starts colts. He also gave his winnings to the wounded warriors project". Thank you Terri, that makes his win all the more special.