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Hele H elena Ciitttyy New elen Newwss Serving the City of Helena and surrounding area

Winter 2014

Watt Parker named Helena High School A.D., Football Coach MAYOR HALL HONORS FIRST RESPONDERS

Thanks everyone who helped their neighbors in the snow

JEFF BURNSIDE NAMED HELENA HIGH SCHOOL BAND DIRECTOR He looks forward to building a new tradition of excellence at HHS

KARA BURLESON NAMED ASSISSTANT PRINCIPAL OF HELENA ELEMENTARY Principal Mary Cooper and staff welcome her to the community /


I hope that this letter finds you all safe and recovered from January’s snow storm! Needless to say, we were all caught offguard as the storm rolled in and roads began to freeze in less than an hour. The forecasted “dusting of snow” quickly turned into, what we call here in the south, a blizzard! This particular emergency event was unique from any other event I have seen in my 30 years in law enforcement, partly due to the fact that people were still at work and school without warning at its onset, so the challenges began to mount very quickly for the entire Metro area. We enacted our Emergency Operations Plan, and city road crews began to work as fast as possible to treat main roadways, but we could not catch up with the snow as it continued to fall while temperatures plummeted at a record pace. Police and

fire personnel began answering hundreds of calls for road side assistance and transported as many people as possible to their destinations, while others began to abandon cars and attempt to walk home. Citizens with four wheel drive vehicles jumped into action as well, assisting people in need with rides home or by towing vehicles to a safe place. Fifteen people came to the Municipal Complex warming station for refuge and many of them stayed overnight until they could travel home the next day. Another huge concern was the safety of our children who were forced to stay at schools overnight during the storm. Police officers were assigned for overnight security to assist parents and teachers with safety and security as the night wore on. I visited each school late that night, and I was extremely impressed at how calm and collected our teachers, school staff and students were during this crisis. This only solidifies the fact that we have the absolute

best school administrators, teachers and staff in the state right here in Helena. Thankfully, the next day, police and fire personnel began to transport children home, resulting in all of the students being reunited with their families. This was a big relief for everyone, but the work continued for our emergency services employees. Police and fire personnel worked without rest the next 48 hours checking abandoned vehicles, delivering medicines to homebound special needs patients and answering other calls for assistance. City road crews also continued to work on roads for the next two days as Governor Bentley responded to a request from me for additional help on State Highway 261 for road treatments. The Shelby County Highway Department did the same for county roads located in the city. Thankfully, the roads began to thaw and we resumed normal operations a couple of days later. As I reflect on the events of the snow storm, I know that we have learned many

valuable lessons, and our first responders and road crews will critique and certainly work on ways to improve service and communications for our citizens so that all are better prepared on what to during sudden emergency events. What I saw during this crisis is that Helena is very blessed with caring and responsible people who do everything possible to make sure we are all safe and secure during extraordinary times of need. Emergency workers, street crews, teachers and all our citizens that responded deserve a huge thanks, and should know you have my most sincere appreciation and gratitude for a job well done. This incident proves what I have always believed, that our greatest asset is our people, and also serves as solid proof, that Helena is where you want to be! God bless you all! Best Wishes,


Mark R. Hall, Mayor

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Watt Parker —Football Coach and Athletic Director of Helena High School

Watt has already taken advantage of this once-in-a-career opportunity, having With Helena High School set from scratch, which is really worked with Principal to open this coming fall, a lot of special. We’ll be on the ground Jay Peoples, Band hard work is coming together level,” he said. Director Jeff Burnside to get the school ready. As part Starting a team from the and the community of this effort, several integral ground up aside, Watt is ready to brainstorm administrative and staff positions to teach his philosophy to the fundraising ideas for were approved by the SCBOE fantastic Helena athletes. “We in December. This includes the will focus on the most important the fledgling athletic programs. “I love appointment of Watt Parker thing—being people of good partnering with the as athletic director and head character. It’s the cornerstone of band for fundraising,” football coach. what we do,” he said. Students “I’m super excited about will be expected to keep up their he said. He explained navigating coming here and looking grades, come to practices on expenditures for necessary forward to what we can build,” time, have a good work ethic, equipment is a challenge, said Watt. “Opening a school understand the concept of hard because they want quality gives us a great opportunity to work and put the team before materials for their top-notch start traditions, build something their personal desires. facilities, but still need to be together and be something.” “Our goal is excellence. In frugal with their money. The Although the coach comes everything we do, we want to first event to benefit the Helena to Helena after eight years at be the best we can be,” Watt Athletic Association is the 2nd Arab High School, Watt is no continued. “I do not promise annual “A Night On The Town,” stranger to the area. He taught wins. Never have, never will. held Saturday, February 15th and coached for 10 years at What I promise is, your son will at the Harley Davidson Thompson and four years at be a better person having gone “Hog Room.” Chelsea before moving to Arab. through my football program.” “I like this area, so I’m glad to He is a big believer in multiLeaders are making great be back here,” he said. He has sport athletes, and says teams strides to fill the faculty and been reacquainting himself with will work out together. “Building staff roster for HHS. Watt said the lay of the land and catching in one sport helps you in they will post job openings for up with old friends as he works another. Our goal is to not have fall and winter head coaching with the community to help get different teams, but to all be positions soon. “We want people the school ready. Helena Huskies!” He continued, who are excellent in all aspects of His prior programs were laughing, “All the players should coaching and teaching, who will established, so Helena is going pull in the same direction. be professional as well as a role to be a very different experience. It should come naturally to model for the kids,” he said. “I’ve “We get to come in and start Huskies!” had the pleasure of working with some really bright coaches DON’T FEEL LIKE COOKING TODAY? already.” Visit us at Home Plate Cooking! Watt not We have individual plates, only coaches; family meals, sides, he teaches Home Plate Cooking salads,breads, analytic desserts and the math as Making life a little best chicken easier… one meal at a time well. “I went salad! to college Hours: Monday - Friday 10am-7pm • Saturdays 10am-2pm knowing what I wanted to do—teach math and coach football,” he said. “They aren’t that different, just • 1915 Hwy 58, Helena, AL 35080 • (205) 621-6502 from different

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areas. Teaching is coaching, and coaching is teaching. Both instill good skills in our kids, whether for sport or a school subject.” He achieved his undergraduate degree in Math Education at Livingston University, which is now the University of West Alabama. As an athletic director, which he has been for the past 12 years at Arab and Chelsea, there is always work to be done. Prepping, planning and implementing programs, finding coaches and working with many different sports all year long keeps him very busy. “There aren’t a lot of days off,” he laughed. He’ll also have to coordinate schedules, negotiate with drink vendors and athletic suppliers, among other duties. Watt’s wife, Kristy, also teaches math, and she has taken over his classes at Arab for the rest of this school year while he works in Helena. Their kids, 9-year-old Max and 6-year-old Kate, will finish this school year in Arab as well, but the family is looking to move to Helena this summer. Watt has enjoyed helping coach the softball, tee-ball, and upward basketball teams on which his kids have played, and hopes to partner with Helena Parks and Rec to continue that here. “This has been a long time coming, with the city and county working together well,” Watt said. We look forward to watching it continue to come together as the Helena High School Huskies build new traditions under Watt Parker.

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Successful Birmingham restaurateur opens El Patron in Helena Helena’s newest Mexican restaurant is thriving, and some call it one of Shelby County’s best kept secrets. Owner Arturo Rosas wants you to be part of the following there, too. El Patron, located on Hwy 95 at CR 58, is in the building with Rio’s Bar & Grill. Arturo began looking for a location in Helena after many of his former customers from the downtown area requested that he open a restaurant in Helena. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, Arturo came to the United States looking for work at the age of 25, which he found in Birmingham. “I worked at Costas Barbeque as a dishwasher for three months before starting to cook on the grill,” said Arturo. He explained the next four years he spent working at Costas helped him realize how much he enjoys working in restaurants. Fifteen years ago, he finally left Costas to start his own restaurant, Los Amigos, which is still located downtown on the Southside. Starting a new restaurant was hard at first, but Arturo was

determined to succeed. “I never lost hope, even when money was running out at times,” he said. His hard work, faith and determination paid off as businessmen and UAB students flocked to Los Amigos, making it his first of five successful Mexican restaurants across Birmingham. Two years later, Arturo decided it was time to grow his business, so he opened up a second Los Amigos location in Hoover, which fared just as well as the first. After getting this establishment settled down, he then opened a restaurant called Acapulco in Homewood, followed by the Tecate Bar & Grill in Vestavia. When Arturo saw that Helena didn’t have many Mexican restaurants, he decided he wanted to offer residents here the delicious food he has been spreading across the Birmingham area. Since he raised his sons, Manuel and Jesus, in the restaurant business, the pair have been able to take over the

management of his other four restaurants, leaving their dad with the time to manage his newest venture here. Offering delicacies that many Mexican restaurants do not have, El Patron has set itself apart in the business. A traditional seafood paella, roast pork carnitas, shrimp cocktail and other dishes join the ever-popular fajitas, quesadillas and tacos that most all Mexican restaurants are known for. Decadent dinners for two with scallops, tilapia, bacon, ham and other less often used foods in Mexican dishes also offer a oneof-a-kind dining experience. “Our business has been steadily

growing, said Arturo. Many people like El Patron, and they come back,” Arturo said proudly. From the black bean cheese dip, salsa verde and traditional salsa that comes with the usual home made chips complimentary appetizers to the house-made guacamole and the large variety of vegetarian dishes, everything is delicious. And any restaurant boasting a 2-7 p.m. happy hour every day of the week except Sunday will usually stay busy. Give El Patron Mexican Restaurant a try today, and be sure to say “hi” to Arturo while you’re there—we think you’ll become a regular visitor!

HMS Show Choir’s Dessert Cabaret needs your support! The HMS Music Machine show choir will have its final performance at the Helena Middle School Dessert Cabaret on Saturday March 15, 2014. The Music Machine will perform reworked popular songs from the 80s as audience members enjoy gourmet desserts and beverages. Some of the songs performed

will be Money for Nothing, Video Killed the Radio Star and Material Girl. As the production progresses, the choir members change into a less formal costume for the final performance of Footloose. The March 15th show will be from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under

and include a spectacular performance, gourmet dessert and beverage. The HMS Music Machine Show choir is made up of 48 very talented singers and dancers. They practice each week and perform at various competitions throughout the state. All proceeds from the Dessert Cabaret will benefit the

HMS choral department and will go towards the purchase of needed equipment and music. If interested in purchasing a ticket, see a show choir member or contact Frank Andrews at for ticket information and purchasing. Tickets will be for sale at the door until they are sold out.

Kara Burleson is new HES vice principal

Starting in January, Helena Elementary School brought in a new assistant principal. Kara Burleson was approved for the position by the SCBOE during a December 19 meeting. “I’m very excited to have Kara working with us, she is a great addition to our team,” said HES Principal Mary Cooper. “Mary has been so great, I’m so glad for her help and support during this transition,” said Kara. “The office staff at HES has been so supportive too.” She says her educational experience at the

University of Montevallo, internships she took and administrators she worked with in the past were so open with her that she is well-prepared for the move to administration. Previously, she taught 5th grade at Valley Intermediate for six years, and before that, 4th grade at Montevallo Elementary for three years. “I’ve wanted to be a teacher my entire life. I knew I wanted to do something important and wanted to be absolutely sure of what that would be. In the end, I knew the most important thing I could do was to be an educator and impact the lives of children,” Kara said. “Once I saw how

8 Winter Edition 2014 /

many more lives I could touch as an administrator, I knew I could make the move.” Kara is more than prepared for the position, as she earned her Bachelor’s of Elementary Education from Auburn University, followed by two master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Instructional Leadership at Montevallo. “I am still constantly learning and growing as a teacher and an administrator,” Kara said. “And every decision I make is for the students. To make their learning environment suitable for a successful educational experience.” She really means it when she says she works hard for her students: she received a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards grant for her strides in reflective teaching at VIS several years ago. This grant helped

her pass her National Board Certification in 2011. Only around 5% of Alabama teachers achieve this certification. Kara’s husband Drew Burleson works with Motivated Movers of Pelham. They have one child with another on the way. Their daughter, Adeline Elizabeth, is 15 months old, and Benton Andrew is due March 20. “We searched long and hard for family names: Adeline Elizabeth was my great grandmother’s name, and Benton is my great uncle’s middle name. Andrew comes from his father,” explained Kara. “I’m so honored to be at HES in this position, and I’m so excited for the new experiences to come,” she said. “The Helena community, faculty, staff, parents and students are all so kind, and they have welcomed me with open arms.”

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Helena native Nigel Terrell earns BCS Championship ring as a Seminole One of the most exciting games in Division 1 football for the past 16 years has been the BCS National Championship. As this somewhat controversial championship system came to an end last month, many were pulling for the Crimson Tide or Tigers, wanting a fifth straight year of Alabama teams taking the title. Although this is not how the season played out, Helena still has cause to celebrate: Nigel Terrell, a Helena resident who starred for the PHS Panthers, is a member of the Florida State Seminoles BCS Championshipwinning team. Nigel began as a tight end in his freshman year at PHS, moving to safety on the varsity team under the direction of Head Coach Brett Burnett. As a sophomore, he started as a receiver, moving to linebacker halfway through the season. He stayed a linebacker through his junior year, when schools started to recruit him. As a senior, he helped fill out weak spots on the team by working as a defensive end and receiver. “I worked wherever they needed me,” Nigel said. As for his recruitment, in an ironic turn of events, Nigel almost played as an Auburn

Tiger. “I was really heavy with Auburn, the coaches wanted me…But when it came down to it, I chose Florida State,” he said, citing the location as “far enough away so I could have my independence, but close enough to go home if I need to get there.” As a Seminole, Nigel started out as a linebacker. When Head Coach Jimbo Fisher asked if he’d move to fullback for more playing time, he said he jumped at the chance. While some never considered FSU in the running for the BCS Championship, Nigel never doubted it. “My freshman class decided we wanted nothing more than a national championship by our senior year,” he explained. “Every team we played this year, we expected to beat. We expected to blow

them out.” (And most of them they did.) He credits Jimbo with unifying the team and helping them remember their own loyal fans, even while on the road. “My class bought into Jimbo’s system: ‘One year, one life, make the best of it,’” he said. His favorite game this season was against Clemson. “They beat us last time we were there and we were sour about it,” he explained. “To be back in that stadium, to hear how loud it was with their fans... Just to be able to shut them up was great,” he laughed. As for the championship game, Nigel said he never expected them to come up against the Tigers. “How crazy was it to play against Jake (Holland, another PHS grad who used to live in Helena, too, playing for AU), and the team I almost committed to? That was my craziest scenario, and it came true.” With a national championship win under his belt as a redshirt junior, we can only expect more out of this local boy made good in the future. Nigel looks forward to a lot more playing time next season. “I want to make a name for myself and to continue to contribute to the team’s success,” he said. He also has aspirations following his senior season next year of combines, all star games and training for the NFL. “Hopefully I am putting myself in a good position to go high in the draft.” Nigel’s parents are Karl and Helena resident Valerie Terrell, the latter of whom works as a travel nurse. One brother, Nick, plays football for UAB. Another brother, William, lives in Ohio with Karl and his mother. Congratulations to Nigel on his BCS National Championship! We look forward to watching his career develop in the future!

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Jeff Burnside named Helena High Band Director Helena residents with students currently in the band program at PHS should be very familiar with band director Jeff Burnside. Students at HMS know him as well, as he has been working with the middle school band a few times a week for several years now. This familiarity with the students and parents in the Helena community is a relationship Jeff wants to continue to cultivate once he moves to Helena High School this fall. At a December meeting of the Shelby County Board of Education, Jeff was named band director for the new high school. Jeff first joined PHS when it split off its Oak Mountain zoned students 15 years ago. Prior to that, he was at Homewood High School. This time around, he has been involved with the Pelham and Helena band communities and school leaders which will make this split as smooth as possible for both bands. “We look at the band program as a family. We want all the kids to benefit from this split, not just those at one school,” he said. Another difference is that his starting program at PHS began with about 50 students. He thinks the program at HHS will have a much higher enrollment due in part to the nature of the Pelham/Helena split. The new band will be made up

of Helena students currently attending PHS who decided to be a part of their hometown high school next year, as well as the upcoming 9th graders from HMS. “If we retain the same students we have for the past few years, and based on the students who will move to the new school, the program should start with around 170 students,” Jeff explained. “They seem to be pretty excited, as I am,” Jeff said of the students moving over with him. “They get to start everything for the program. They get to do everything first, to decide what new traditions the band will have.” He really wants to promote their involvement, saying, “The kids will really direct the personality of the band.” Jeff is looking forward to having the community involved with the band and the kids too, and having the band involved with the community. He says to look forward to your local high school band performing at community events in the future. As a band director, he is excited for the top-notch facilities in the new school building. “The auditorium is centrally located to the fine arts classrooms. We’ll be able to roll our instruments across the hall and onto the stage in seconds;

much preferable to carrying heavy, expensive equipment up and down stairs to perform,” he laughs. He is also looking forward to being so close to the middle school. If possible, and Jeff believes it will be, he wishes to work closely with Lance Pruitt, the HMS band director. “I would like to see the high school players working with the middle school kids after school, even during the day in a limited fashion,” he said. He describes a desire to build the band program up from even the elementary school level, explaining that a successful high school program builds on a successful middle school program, and so on. The program unveiled the HHS Band uniforms at an event at the Helena Community Building Sunday, January 19. “We have the students, facilities and uniforms, so our job now is to secure instruments and equipment for the new facilities. Band parents have been meeting for many months to discuss fundraisers to help with the costs,” Jeff explained. He said the band will run the football game concessions as one of a series of fundraising efforts to support the program as a whole. Once the faculty for HHS is secured, Jeff says they will begin asking other teachers for help with the majorettes, color guard, and dance teams. “We plan on having all the programs the band at PHS has at HHS,” Jeff said. “We should be large enough to accomplish anything we want to do.” Even for all the work left, Jeff is confident in their ability to get everything done. “They will be ready at the first football game no matter what—performing and excited about being involved

with their community,” he said. HHS Athletic Director Watt Parker wants to work quickly to build a relationship between athletics and the fine arts groups at HHS. Jeff says principal Jay Peoples has also been very supportive thus far, and he couldn’t be happier. “We want the school to be a cohesive group all working together for the kids, instead of different groups that happen to be in the same school,” he said. “We want the sense of community felt in Helena to show up in everything the high school does.” The band has also designed and is going to purchase its uniforms. They are Helena Husky blue, black and silver, and include a large stylized “H” on the front. Left, band member Caroline Hull models the uniform at the January 19 meeting. Trustmark Bank approved a loan for ordering the uniforms. Jeff obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from Auburn University. He and his wife Katy, who also attended Auburn, have two children who are following in their parents’ footsteps at the university. Kaitlyn, a senior studying Music Education like her father, plays clarinet in the band. Andrew, a freshman Engineering major, plays the trombone. They both played in the band at PHS under their father’s direction. Congratulations to Jeff Burnside on his new position as director of the Helena High School Howling Husky Marching Band!

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First Responders receive recognition for their service during winter storm Mayor Mark Hall presented a Certificate of Commendation to each of the Police, Fire, Street Crew and Parks & Rec employees who were first responders serving the City of Helena during the January 28

winter storm. “We are extremely proud of the service you provided for us during those two days, including the men who manned and shoveled the sand from the city trucks,” Mayor Hall said at the

Feb. 3 City Council session. “John Wilder and his firemen helped transport students to their homes, as did employees who had 4-wheel drive vehicles.” He also thanked Amanda Traywick, City Clerk, who

University of Montevallo Fall 2013 Graduates from Helena Almost 230 Montevallo students received their diplomas at fall commencement Dec. 13. The commencement speaker was Andrew Young, politician, human rights activist and businessman. Following the address, Dr. John W. Stewart III, UM president, conferred degrees upon some 165

candidates for bachelor’s degrees, 62 candidates for master’s degrees and two candidates for the educational specialist degree. After students received their diplomas, Jim Methvin, president of the National Alumni Association, inducted graduates into the 21,000-member organization.

manned the warming center that housed 15 people who took refuge from abandoned cars. “I just can’t say enough about how much we appreciate all their efforts,” said Mayor Hall.


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Mark Beddingfield named new CEO for the Red Cross The Alabama Region American Red Cross announced in December that Helena resident Mark Beddingfield has been selected to serve as their new Chief Executive Officer. Mark has worked with the Red Cross for more than 17 years in a position of leadership at the American Red Cross Biomedical “Blood” Services Division. “My work with the Biomedical Division has been focused primarily on making sure the state of Alabama had the appropriate blood supply for our hospitals and patients throughout the state,” he explained. He said the Alabama Region of the American Red Cross focuses on all other aspects of the services that the Red Cross provides in local communities, so his new position means he will head much if the Humanitarian efforts for the state. These include: Disaster Response and Recovery, Service to the Armed Forces, and Health and Safety educational courses. “Mark has been a true leader and a hard working steward of our mission. I am confident Mark is the right choice for our Region’s future,” said Michael Schilleci,

Board Chair at the Alabama Red Cross. In his new role, Mark wants to make sure that every citizen in Alabama in need of any of the services Red Cross provides receives it, and in a timely manner. Whether it is assistance after a single family emergency, a largescale disaster, help when a family member is serving overseas in the military, or with project share (utility assistance), he wants to help. He wants as many people as possible to receive lifesaving courses in CPR, First Aid, AED, Pet CPR, or Aquatics as well. It was this all-encompassing mission that drew Mark to work with Red Cross in the first place, as a teenager in Huntsville. “The organization prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. I have a need to help others, and I get to do that every day as I serve with the American Red Cross,” he explained. He has been able to help many people over many years, as Mark’s career with the Red Cross has been a long one. “I started as a volunteer

with the Red Cross at age 19 and fell in love with the work and mission that this organization does in our country. We truly are there in the toughest of times to help,” he said. After volunteering in Huntsville, he attended Athens University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He then went back to Huntsville, where he served as the American Red Cross Donor Resources District Supervisor for four years. A move from Huntsville near the beginning of his career brought the family to Birmingham, then to Helena in 2000. Even though his office was in downtown Birmingham, he didn’t mind driving that far to work every day. “Just take a drive to Helena and you would quickly see why. It is one of the most peaceful places you will ever see,” he explained.

Mark said he really loves the community in Helena. “We have so much to offer. I tell people all the time that Helena is the perfect place to raise your family. Everyone is so friendly and the city is so beautiful,” he said. “I know we were voted as the top place to live in Alabama and that is an honor well deserved,” he continued. Mark is married to Susan, who is a private tutor specializing in dyslexia and other learning disabilities. She is also on her way towards start a composting business. The pair have four daughters who all attended Evangel Christian School. The oldest, Shelby, is 23 and attending Auburn. Her sister Riley, who is 21, took the opposing route to Alabama. Katy, who is 20, attends the University of Montevallo. Sixteen-year-old Libby is still at Evangel Christian.

Jingle Bell Run benefits juvenile arthritis The 25th Annual Jingle Bell Run was held Saturday December 14th at Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham and was a huge success despite

Anna Grace with HIS Principal Kathy Paiml and Assistant Principal Genet Holcomb.

the weather! Anna Grace McDonald, a 7th grader at HMS, put her heart and soul into raising money this year for a cure for juvenile arthritis. She was diagnosed 2 years ago with juvenile arthritis. “I had a lot of pain over the last four years and some days could not walk or stand up. Most doctors dismissed it as growing pains until it got much worse,” Anna said. “Now I see a rheumatologist and get four hour infusions at Children’s Hospital and take injections weekly to help.” Anna explained there are 300,000 kids with JA and arthritis is the number one

16 Winter Edition 2014 /

cause of disability in the U.S. today. She thanks everyone who ran for helping fight Juvenile Arthritis. Anna engaged both HIS and HMS to support her in the 5K this year. Each school held a “Hat Day” in honor of Anna Grace and the Jingle Bell Run, and they each raised over $400.00 toward her goal. Her older sister Erin, a Helena Belle, enlisted the Belles to help this year and this group raised over $800.00 toward the cause. The Helena Belles had

their own “tutu” party so they could wear red and green tutus during the run. It was a huge success and a lot of fun. Anna Grace’s overall team contribution came to $2,000!  Thanks to everyone for all their support this year as we continue to work together to find a cure for Arthritis!







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Hollywood once again comes to Old Town at Ice and Coal Gallery “Camera roll. Quiet please. No talking guys, wrap it up. Sound roll.” On the film set of Coffee Shop, the Dave Alan Johnson directed movie filming in Ice & Coal Gallery and adjacent Old Town buildings, cameras began to roll. Waiting to be assigned as extras were about 25 people including Charlotte Brunnum, Kim Powell, and Lisa Rogers, who appeared last year as extras in Mom’s Night Out, also produced by Birmingham natives Jon and Andrew Erwin. “Seeing how it is behind the scenes and how it comes together in the end is so interesting,” said these ladies who stayed all day and into the evening. Rogers was chosen to play a hostess in the scene and Brunnum and Powell

were diners at tables in the background shots. Locals James (Bubba) and Marion Sides, Laura Brookhart, and Lora Lunsford were also diners at a table nearby, sitting until about 2:00, when the entire set broke for lunch. About 1:00 p.m., Bubba remarked drolly, “If they don’t hurry up, they are going to have to redo my makeup.” Only Lunsford had the patience to wait until 8:00 p.m. when their table was at last filmed, and by then, she had crocheted an entire scarf. Kate Wilson, a local artist, was in the scene earlier, serving briefly as a double for one of the film’s stars, Laura Vandervoort, as the lighting was blocked. Theresa Preston, who co-wrote the script for October Baby,

(co-directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin) knew about the coffee shop in Helena as that is where she worked on that script. The film stars Laura Vandervoort, Jon Lovitz and Kevin Sorbo and also October Baby actors Rachel Hendrix and This photo of the coffee bar area staged in the rear of Ice Jason Burkey. & Coal Gallery was taken the day after filming About 75 was completed. percent of the film was done days, Helena residents brought in Old Town, where locations blankets, pillows and food for served as a restaurant, a bank, the roughly 55 crew members an apartment and a coffee shop, who were stranded in the and the remainder was filmed adjoining four Old Town in Fairhope. Helena buildings. As the filming continued The made-for-television film is through the snow/ice storm to air later this year.

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Alvin Hines scores job with American Athletic Conference Former PHS Panthers safety Alvin Hines has made the move from Alabama to Rhode Island right in the middle of the “polar vortex” up north, but it’s all worth it for his new job with the American Athletic Conference. It makes sense that Alvin would work in sports. “I have always played sports since I could remember,” he said. Starting with baseball at five-years-old in Irondale, he continued to play at RMS when his family moved to Helena. He began playing football there as well. He played both sports at PHS and also during through his freshman year at Samford University. “After getting drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2009, I did consider going to play pro baseball, but decided to stay in college to get my education,” he explained. After his freshman year as a Bulldog, he decided to focus on football alone. At Samford, he was truly able to build on this football career. “I had many offers from other football programs, but Samford separated its academics like none other,” he said. He also wanted a chance to work with Samford Football coach Pat Sullivan. “He is a phenomenal coach with high character and morals. He treats his players great at Samford, while being very competitive in the

Southern Conference.” “Samford has a great program, and I wanted to be a part of what Pat was building,” he continued. “I enjoyed every second of being a part of that football program and that outstanding university.” He described a learning environment where the students and professors encouraged and helped each other focus while still being part of a great college experience. Alvin was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, along with being active in his athletics and holding various leadership positions in several student organizations. “That is what really made my college experience. I was able to get involved with other students, which allowed me to meet more students and get involved with many more things across campus,” he said. Alvin supports the changes being made for Pelham and Helena schools. “I think it is a great idea for Helena to have its own high school. Helena has established itself very well in the past few years, and deserves to have something to call its own,” he said. “I know the education will be top-notch and will be exceptionally competitive in high school athletics. The PHS and HHS rivalry will be one for the record books each year!” His position at the AAC

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involves him in conference administration. This includes the management of all 13 sports programs and championships in the conference, as well as exposure to the finance, television, telecommunications, governance and compliance, and public relations/ communications programs. “I will spend time rotating through each department under the direction of the respective Senior Associate or Associate Commissioner,” he explained. While Alvin will live in Pawtucket in the metro area of Providence, Rhode Island, he sees many business trips for conference meetings, championships and other league-sponsored events in his foreseeable future. His father, Alvin Hines, Sr., works at ACIPCO and has been a great mentor. “My dad has been the most positive force in my life,” he said. His mother, Sandra Hines, is an administrator in the US Army and is currently in Kuwait. His stepmother is Venus Hines. “My parents have had a huge affect on my life.” He explained, “They have supported and directed me spiritually,

academically, and athletically. They have always provided me with what I need and I could not be any more appreciative of them as they have supported me in every aspect of my life.” Alvin has two older sisters: Brittany Danner and Angela Davis. Angela is currently serving in the United States Air Force in Qatar. He also has two younger brothers: Kyhl Hines and James Kelly. Through the support systems of his former teammates, coaches, friends and family, Alvin has been able to achieve success, and he wants that for all the kids back home. “I would like to encourage all the students at Pelham and soon to be Helena High School to continue to chase their dreams and aspirations,” he said. Great words of inspiration from a successful former student-athlete. We wish Alvin the best of luck as he pursues his new career at the AAC. One word of advice too: button up—it’s cold up there!

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Maegan Vick named counselor of the year

Maegan Vick, the kindergarten and 1st grade counselor at HES, was named Elementary Counselor of the Year for 2013 by the Alabama School Counselor Association. “I didn’t expect to win,” Maegan said. “Shelby County is full of phenomenal counselors who all work really hard.” She credits the community of counselors and educators in the county and Helena for helping her receive this award. “I’m blessed to have this network of hard workers. Without them, I wouldn’t be the counselor I am. They have had a huge impact on me,” she said. Not to discredit Maegan’s own hard work, though. After growing up in Coosa County, she achieved a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo in Elementary Education

and Special Education. With this, she worked as a special education teacher at Thompson Intermediate for two years. “I truly enjoyed working with children who have disabilities but also knew I wanted to be a counselor,” she said. “Growing up, I struggled with being bullied and feeling like an outsider, but the school counselor never visited our classrooms,” Maegan said. In 8th grade, she started reading books on psychology and counseling. She wanted to figure out why kids treat each other the way they do, and learn how to deal with situations on her own. “No one taught me how to stand up for myself appropriately. I wanted to teach children how to be assertive and how to have healthy self-esteem,” she explained. So she went back to UM to earn a Masters in School Counseling. Maegan started working with Emily Rich, the 2nd grade counselor at HES, four years ago under Mary Cooper. “After graduating, I applied to many schools for counseling positions. Mary was my last interview, and she took a chance on me,” said Maegan. “I am very thankful to

her for believing in me.” After a few years at HES, she took a job at Shelby County High to experience counseling at another level. She quickly realized high school counseling was not her passion. When her old position at HES opened up, she went back immediately. “When working at the high school level, I truly learned the importance of preventative counseling. I also love how much time I get to spend with students at the elementary level. High school requires less time in the classroom and more time in the office,” she explained. “HES is my home and my heart.” For the past two years, Maegan and Emily have served on the board for the Alabama School Counseling Association (ALSCA). They are also members of the Alabama Counselor Association (ALSA), which is the parent association for ALSCA. It was actually another former board member, Jennifer Riddle, who nominated Maegan for the Counselor of the Year award. “She’s just so sweet and saw my passion for counseling,” Maegan said. “She believes in me as a counselor.” After the nomination,

Maegan had to write a paper explaining her philosophy as a counselor and describing her contributions to the field of counseling to be judged for the award. “I believe in cognitive behavioral therapy,” she said. This idea basically means your thinking controls your feelings, and Maegan believes we can change our thought processes to gain new perspectives on any given situation. She also uses solution-focused therapy and play therapy techniques when she works with the students at HES. “We focus less on the problem and more on the solutions. We look for the positives and work towards a solution,” she explained. Maegan is married to Patrick Vick, who works for Stryker Orthopedics. The pair have two Great Pyrenees puppies they love to take for walks: Fluff and Puff. “Helena is such a unique and wonderful place for families. This community is my heart and my home,” she reiterated. “And the staff at HES is wonderful—I come to work with friends every day.” Congratulations Maegan!

Roland gives back to Helena schools

PHS singers attend UAB Honor Choir

In appreciation of the Helena community and its support of her practice over these past eleven years, local attorney Elizabeth Roland has announced she will make a quarterly donation to a Helena school for each new Helena resident that utilizes her services throughout 2014. Elizabeth recently presented Principal Mary Cooper of Helena Elementary with a check for $250.

Five PHS students who reside in Helena participated in the annual UAB Honor Choir January 17-18. Seen above, the choral students are: Tiara Pennington, Alexandra Abernathy, Preston Burks, Bella Ryder and Sydney DeVoe. Congratulations!

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Sue Johnson, retired HES bookkeeper and full-time Nana to five December 20 was Sue Johnson’s last day as a bookkeeper for Shelby County after a nearly 28-year career. “Sue was a dedicated employee who helped keep the ship running smoothly for many years,” said HES Principal, Mary Cooper. Sue leaves the HES office after 15 years of service to spend more time with her grandchildren. “When people ask me, ‘what will you do when you retire?’ I say, ‘whatever the grandkids tell me to do!’” she laughed. She plans to knit and sew, read and garden. Or, as she describes it, “play in the yard.” Sue was born in Pennsylvania, but grew up in West Virginia after moving there at just six weeks old. She and her late husband, Richard “Dick” Johnson, both went to Magnolia High School. “I met him walking home one day with my ball and my bat at age 15. We continued to play baseball for many years after that,” she remembered fondly. After graduating, Sue went back to Magnolia HS, where she worked in the technology office. She also worked as a receptionist for orthopedic surgeons and was an accounts payable clerk for an aluminum reduction plant a few years in West Virginia. Dick, who Sue met as “Bud”

and still affectionately calls him that, worked in business management. After marrying in WV, his jobs took the couple to Akron, Ohio, then Albany, Georgia, followed by Mansfield, Ohio and finally Alabama. Dick worked as a plant manager for Specification Rubber in Alabaster until he died December 29, 1992 in a canoeing accident in Guntersville. Once the family settled into Alabama, Sue went to work as a bookkeeper at RMS in 1986, staying there until 1993. She helped open Oak Mountain Middle School that year, staying there until 1997 when she moved to HES under thenPrincipal Cheryl Davis. “I enjoy working with people, and an elementary school has lots of people,” she said. She had always volunteered at her sons’ schools, as well as at Helena United Methodist Church, so she knew working with people was something she was good at, too. As a Shelby County school bookkeeper, it was up to Sue to keep up with the school’s purchase orders, teachers’ accounts, donations, bills, financial statements, payroll, fundraisers and other duties, too. “I always enjoyed my job. It was a fun job. Working with money is like fitting pieces of a puzzle

together- and I like puzzles,” she laughed. Sue and “Bud” had three children: Scott, Aaron and Travis, who all went to school in Helena. Bud coached Scott and Aaron in baseball, and Sue took over coaching Tee Ball with Travis for a year. Through fantastic coaching, Travis and Aaron were able to attend Shelby Academy (now Calera Intermediate) on a sports scholarship. Now, Scott is married to Lisa, and they have Allison, who attends HMS, and Hunter, who attends HIS. Aaron married Carin, and the couple lives below Gadsden with their three kids: Connor, Lauren and Alex. Travis has a dog named Rocky. In 2013, a couple of her children and grandchildren tried to talk her into retirement for several months, but to no avail. “Then one day in the fall, I just decided, ‘Life is too short, and I don’t want to work anymore,’”

she explained. Now, Sue said she loves to have all 5 grandkids with her at once, and loves to takes them to do fun things together when she can. They enjoy going to the McWane Center, the Birmingham Zoo, ice skating, laser tag, bowling and to the movies. And Sue lets them eat their dessert before the meal sometimes, but shhh, don’t tell their parents. “What happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s,” she laughed. “I tell my grandkids I want to live to 150, so I can see their kids too,” she continued. And to shower them with as much love as she does the rest of the family. “Grandkids aren’t ever spoiled, just well-loved,” she said, laughing once again. Sue certainly seems like the perfect Nana to do that loving— HES’s loss is her family’s gain, and everybody is happy for them to get to have her full-time. Best wishes to a special lady!

Weather impacts Georgia and Alabama blood supply The icy roads that stopped traffic in its tracks across major portions of Georgia and Alabama have also cut into the blood supplies in both states. “During the storm, icy roads in Mobile, Atlanta and Birmingham caused LifeSouth to cancel blood drives and close many of its donor centers,” said LifeSouth Director of District Operations J.D. Pettyjohn. “At

some of our locations we had staff stranded for more than 24 hours because they were unable to travel home.” Pettyjohn said some LifeSouth bloodmobiles were stranded or required several hours to cover a few miles to get back to their bases after the storm rolled through. “Because of the halt in collections, we’ve fallen behind.

22 Winter Edition 2014 /

In many of these locations we had no blood drives. With the end of the storm, we need our donors to help make up for those lost days,” Pettyjohn said. “We had just rebuilt our supplies from the holiday slowdown when this hit.” Donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental permission, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be in good

health. A photo I.D. is also required. Check www.lifesouth. org or the LifeSouth Facebook page for information on blood drives and center hours or call 888-795-2707.

local A.M.E.


New Bethel A.M.E. Church Highway 261 • 201-5531 Pastor Rev. Wilma Merriweather Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Morning Worship 11:00 a.m.


CrossBridge Community Church Starkey Street (off Hwy 261) • 621-2695 Pastors Harris Cook & Bruce Squires • Sunday Worship 10:00 a.m. Wednesday Prayer Service 6:30 p.m. First Baptist Church Helena 815 Highway 52 E • 663-7879 Senior Pastor Greg Walker • Sunday Bible Study 9:30 a.m. Sunday Worship 10:30 a.m. & 6:00 p.m. Gospel Light Baptist Church 5781 Roy Drive • 685-0772 Pastor Steve Kilpatrick • Sunday Bible Study 10:00 a.m. Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m. Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Highway 261 • 663-5257 Pastor Rev. Edwin D. Dinkins • Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. New Elam Baptist Church Cunningham Drive Pastor Rev. Lester Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. Riverside Baptist Church 1919 Highway 52 West • 426-1910 Pastor J.J. Stanbridge • e-mail: Sunday Worship 9:00 a.m. Sunday Bible Study 10:30 a.m. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church 4600 Preserve Parkway Hoover, AL 35226 205-822-9125 CHRISTIAN-DISCIPLES OF CHRIST Grace Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 869 Highway 52 • 426-1233 Pastor Tommy Morgan • Sunday School 9:00 a.m. Sunday Worship 10:00 a.m. CHURCH OF CHRIST Church of Christ at Helena 2499 Highway 58 • 620-4575 Evgs Curtis Flatt & Bryan Moody • Sunday School 9:30 a.m. Morning Worship 10:30 a.m.


Lamb of God Charismatic Episcopal 5140 County Road 17, 378-8022 Pastor Rev. Glenn E. Davis • Sun. Worship/Children’s Church 10:00 a.m.


Helena United Methodist Church 2035 County Road 58 • 663-0111 Pastor Rev Mary Bendall • Worship 8:30, 11:00, 11:02 a.m. The Church at Cahaba Bend 3721 Highway 52 West • 621-8060 Pastor Rev Lori Carden • Sunday School 9:15 a.m. Contemporary Worship 10:30 a.m.


Trinity Church of the Nazarene Laurel Woods Dr. & Hwy 58 • 664-4659 Pastor Rev. David Shirer • Sunday School 9:00 a.m. Morning Worship 10:00 a.m.


Cornerstone Church 2694 Highway 58 • 663-9332 Pastor Rev. Tim Trimble Sunday School 9:30 a.m. Morning Worship 10:30 a.m. New Vision Christian Church 2383 Highway 95 • 664-4333 Pastor Van C. Houser, Sr. • Sun. Corporate Prayer 9:00 a.m. Sunday Worship 10:15 a.m. Voice of Faith International Ministries 1560 Cunningham Drive • 663-7396 Pastor Rev. Franklin L. Kirksey Sunday Worship 7:00 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. Thursday Bible Teaching 10:00 a.m.


Christ Community Church Meets at Helena Intermediate • 621-6248 Pastor Phil Chambers • Sunday Worship 10:00 a.m. Helena Cumberland Presbyterian 3396 Helena Road • 663-2174 Pastor Rev. Tommy Johnson • Sunday School 9:00 a.m. Morning Worship 10:00 a.m.

Our area churches offer many services and programs year-round. Please visit the church’s websites for more information on upcoming events. Attend the Church of Your Choice This Sunday!

April Weaver receives award The Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists honored Representative April Weaver of Alabaster with the Healthcare Leadership Award. Representative Weaver accepted the Award at a meeting of Nurse Anesthetist Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. Each year, the association presents the award to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in bringing the best, most affordable healthcare to Alabama citizens. “Representative Weaver has been an advocate for quality, affordable healthcare,“ said Jennifer Overton, President of the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists. “As a Registered Nurse and Director of Business Development at Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, she is uniquely qualified as a healthcare leader, respected by her peers and dedicated in her service,” said Overton. The Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists has over 1,300

members who live and work all across Alabama, in rural areas and the larger cities. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled healthcare professionals who are trained to deliver the best anesthesia care possible. To become a nurse anesthetist, you must first earn a Bachelor of Science degree, practice for at least one year as a registered nurse in an intensive care setting, graduate from an accredited nurse anesthesia education program, typically a 30 month course of study, complete clinical training and pass a national certification exam. Nurse anesthetists are then required to complete at least 40 hours of approved continuing education every two years to maintain the certification.



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All Contestants compete in Lifestyle& Fitness, Private Interview, Evening Gown/On Stage Question, and Talent. Contestants are also eligible for scholarship opportunities based on scholastic achievement. The newly crowned Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen 2014 will receive 4 years renewable scholarships to Alabama, Auburn and Troy State University along with a fabulous prize package. Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagen will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for this two day event. Special Guest are Jessica Procter, Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen 2013 and Chandler Champion, Miss Alabama 2013. Competition will began at 2 p.m. each afternoon. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15.


Tiara Pennington, Miss Tennessee Valley’s Outstanding Teen will compete in the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen Pageant March 1-2, 2014 in Sylacauga at B.B Comer High School. Tiara is a 9th grade student at Pelham High School. She will compete along with 45 other girls from across our state. The winner will represent Alabama at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant Competition held in Orlando, FL. in August 2014.



Helena Teen competes for state title


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Lilly Vonderau is shooting her way to the Olympics Helena teen Lilly Vonderau first picked up a BB gun when she was 12-years-old, and four years later, she can be found on the way to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to shoot Precision Air Rifle in the Junior Olympics. On Saturday, November 16, she won the Alabama Junior Olympics Women’s Qualifier, which was held in Anniston. This win means she will head out west to shoot with the nation’s top shooters this spring. In 2009, Maegan Sisk, another outstanding shooter calling Helena home and currently shooting for the UAB Rifle Team, asked Lilly to stop by one of her practices. It didn’t hurt that a trip to a frozen yogurt shop was promised after practice. At practice, Lilly was introduced

to Coach Sam Richardson of the Shelby County Shooting Sports Association. Coach Sam let Lilly send a few BBs down range. That was all it took. Over the next year, Lilly became more proficient with a BB gun. She began shooting in many local competitions before finally heading to the Daisy National BB Gun Championships held in Rogers, Arkansas, where shooters from all over the country cam to compete. In 2012, Lilly began shooting the Sporter Class Air Rifle, a light weight air rifle with adjustable sights, adjustable sling positions and spot-on accuracy. Coach Sam saw immediately that Lilly was shooting consistently higher and higher so he decided to move her up to the Precision Air Rifle Team.

The Precision Rifle Team has been shooting together for several years. Hanna Irvin from Maylene is an incredible shooter with a bright future in this sport. Sammy Richardson, Coach Sam’s son, also qualified for the Junior Olympics this year in the men’s division. Chase Kitchens rounds out the team. This team of teens shoots all over the Southeast in competitions and practices at a range right here in Helena at the Richardson’s home. Today, Lilly, a sophomore at Pelham High School, is

consistently shooting above 570 out of 600 possible points in a 60 shot match. Her score to win the Alabama Junior Olympics Qualifier was 589.7. Short term, her goal is to help her team win and get more teens involved in shooting sports. She sees herself shooting for a college team in three years and one day the Olympics. She won’t make Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but watch out 2020 Summer Olympics, Lilly has her eye on your TARGET!

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Shining Diamondz light up cheerleading competitions

A group of enthusiastic cheerleaders with special needs come together from around the state each Monday to practice at the Alabama Cheerleading Center (ACC) gym on the outskirts of Helena. The Shining Diamondz are one of the Bama All-Stars teams sponsored by the ACC to attend, perform and compete in cheerleading competitions around the southeast. Nowhere else have they gotten the same help and commitment as all the other teams like they do at the ACC. “Britton Blackburn was looking for cheerleaders with special needs a few years ago, and we were looking for a new gym,” said Mary

Chambliss, mother of Preston, one of the Shining Diamondz. “Britton is a good Christian man, and he runs a great gym. They really work with these kids, expecting them to work hard in practice. It’s nice to know there are things for your children with special needs to do here in Helena.” The coach also just donated new competition uniforms to each member of the team for competition season. Mary says cheerleading has given Preston something to look forward to every week. They come to the ACC each Monday and many “open gym” Thursday nights too, at Preston’s request. “He’d live in the gym if he could,” Mary laughed. She explains cheerleading has helped him lose weight, enjoy exercising and set achievable goals for himself, learn to be more social, and become more active in the community. Mary said, “They told me Preston was going to tumble, do a forward roll and all this. I said,

‘He’s special needs, he’ll never be able to do a forward roll,’” but Preston interrupted, excited. “Now I can!” He is now working with coaches on his next goal, a backbend. For its first two years, the team had five members but have seven this year. The members range from 4-year-old Haley Cole, Lindsay Martin, Brenna Kelley, Preston Chambliss, Roderick Harper and Hailey Grace Leslie to 43-year-old Thomas Postal, who just joined the group in January. “We’re all here for each other, like an extended family,” Mary said. The group will travel to competitions in New Orleans, Nashville, San Destin and Atlanta, along with the Worldwide Spirit Association Dixieland Classic at the BJCC. At Cheersport Nationals, February 14 and 15 in Atlanta, the Shining Diamondz compete against more than a thousand teams from all over the world. But no matter who they

compete against, the crowd in each competition cheers for them the loudest. “For two and a half minutes while they’re on stage being cheered on by the crowd, it feels like nothing else—there is no judgement,” said Mary. Since the Shining Diamondz travel on their own dime to competitions, the financial burden can sometimes be too much for a family that already has medical bills to pay. Mary started a Go Fund Me account for the team to raise money for food, gas and hotel costs for these families. Their goal is $1000, and $590 was raised by the end of January. City Councilman Hal Woodman donated $100 to the fund, and he challenges other board members and Helena city leaders to match his donation. Anyone interested in donating to the fund should visit:, call Mary at 205-533-9656, or Email her at:



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Operation Christmas Child As a project for the holiday season, Mrs. Ansley’s second grade class at HES filled shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and other gifts for a program called “Operation Christmas Child.” These boxes, collected by the nonprofit group Samaritan’s Purse, were sent to over 130 countries and distributed to many children who usually do not receive anything else for Christmas. It was enjoyable for

the students as they brought in the shoeboxes from home, filled them, wrapped the boxes themselves and helped prepare them to be mailed. The Social Studies unit for Mrs. Ansley’s class during the month of December was “Christmas Around the World,” so they learned lessons about some of the countries where the boxes arrived, and compared US traditions with the new ones they were learning about.

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Lyn Scarbrough visits Kiwanis

Lyn Scarbrough, marketing director and writer for Lindy’s Sports, spoke with the Helena Kiwanis Club this morning, the day before National Signing Day (NSD) for college football about what else, football. In addition to sports talk though, Scarbrough shared his ongoing experience supporting Ukrainians struggling to preserve democracy (and resist communism) in that country. He travels to Ukraine periodically and is in touch with various dissidents who marched and protested in -13 degree weather recently in Bolotnaya Square. On the SEC football scene, Scarbrough gave stats on recruiting. Looking ahead to the 2014 football season, he quoted Rivals and 24/7 Sports in addition to ESPN and Scout, all of whom differ in their Top 100 rankings of recruits. State of Alabama rankings from 24/7 Sports show Alabama with verbal commitments from

five Top 10 players and AU with four. He said he expects Rashaan Evans to sign with AU, as he is from Auburn and Scarbrough said his heart is with Auburn. However, the fact that he may not want to live at home could steer him towards Alabama. (The final observation proved correct.) “Every recruiting year brings surprises when the final letters of intent come in.” “Malzahn has an excellent recruiting record. The element he couldn’t foresee (last year) was Nick Marshall. He was the perfect quarterback for Auburn’s offense.” Scarbrough said he sees Marshall as a Heisman Trophy candidate next season, noting that the other four “M-named quarterbacks” will not be back, and that other than Manziel, Marshall’s statistics were better than all of them last season. Scarbrough was at a Las Vegas trade show the day the odds came out for the national

championship for the 2013 season—Alabama was at 12-1 and Auburn was 40-1. He bet on both! “National sources have already predicted both Alabama and Auburn in the final four for next year’s first playoffs,” Scarbrough noted with a smile, “and this is most annoying to many football followers nationwide!” “Alabama fans do not have realistic expectations after winning championships in 2009, 2011 and 2012,” he said. “Quarterbacks graduate and they go pro, and when your quarterback changes, your team has to adjust, even with many excellent players.” (You might consider at this point that Lyn Scarbrough is an Auburn graduate. To balance things out, the owner of Lindy’s, Lindy Davis, not present, is an Alabama graduate who started Lindy’s as a 26-year-old student at Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.) Scarbrough continued, “Seven of the top 10 teams in Rivals currently are from the SEC. He added that more teams than usual will lose their quarterbacks in 2014. Alabama is going to be very good next season, a contender for the National Championship, Scarbrough said, and he predicts Jacob Coker, an athlete committed but not able to enroll

at Alabama until he graduates this spring from FSU, will be Alabama’s starting quarterback. Scarbrough said to look for a potential surprise next season with Mississippi State fielding a better than anticipated squad. He predicts a future book about the BCS era and says the most interesting chapter will be what happened to Auburn during 2010 and 2014 — playing in two national championships, winning one of them and beating every team on their schedule at least once. Scarbrough says he believes the most significant statistic for a football team is its Average Player Value. Six teams in the country have scores over 3.5 (meaning they have signed more 4 and 5 star players, 5 being tops). They are: Alabama 3.92; Ohio State 3.77; LSU 3.74; Texas A&M; 3.73; FL 3.62 and AU 3.62. The fact that the SEC is heavily represented in these numbers brought smiles to all his listeners, regardless their allegiance. Thanks to Gerald Waldrop, Jarrod Gibson and all the Helena Kiwanis members who bring interesting speakers to Helena each month. They meet each Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and the third Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Helena Senior Citizen’s Center behind city hall. See their website at for more info.

Mac Griffin back from Kuwait This time last year, Mac and Laura Childs Griffin were keeping their faith strong and their minds positive, but facing together the reality of his yearlong deployment to Camp Airfjan, Kuwait on January 13. The Griffins, now parents of daughter Abby, five, and son, Carter, two-and-a-half, have been married eight years. Though Mac served in Iraq earlier, when he and Laura had been dating about a year, this was a first since their family formed. After receiving an ROTC scholarship to college, Mac has been a part of some eight different units, and is now a member of Unit 135th ESC (Expeditionary Sustainment Command). “Our house felt empty,” Laura said, “but my plan was to keep myself very busy and continue working. I joined a gym with

childcare to have some time to stay fit and re-energize after work. And in the beginning, we had many invitations from family and friends to visit.” “Naturally, the children were sometimes weepy, but we were fortunate to have access to Skype, and iPhone facetime was a lifesaver for us. Talking with their dad helped to calm them down. Carter, especially, was very attached to FaceTime, which we enjoyed every weekend.” “They say when the spouse moves out, Murphy (Murphy’s law) moves in,” Mac shared. In the first six weeks, Laura had to deal with a heat unit that quit in cold weather and a roof leak that flooded their downstairs, requiring replacing most of that area. “When I deployed before to Iraq, I was company commander

of about 120 guys and they just wore me out,” Mac said. “This deployment,” he observed, “aged Laura. I think she had it worse! Ages two and five are relentless.” “This year gave me a new respect for single parents,” Laura noted. Laura created a visual tool for the children by filling a canister with plastic Army men and, each day, they moved a man into a canister that began empty.

“Finally we got to the point where Abby handled it so well,” Laura shared, “she would just tell everyone, ‘Well Daddy had to fly over the big ocean and he’ll be back by Christmas.’” Mac returned earlier than expected, November 17, which was exciting for his family. “The night he got home was surreal; I just stood there staring at the real him. We’re so thankful to have had a safe deployment.” Welcome home, Mac!

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Charles Griffin donates to Helena Historic Museum

Charles Griffin, whose family goes back five generations in Helena, has made several significant additions to our local museum. Recent additions include a spinning wheel and loom circa 1830, belonging to his great-great grandmother, along with accompanying photos of family members, including Confederate soldier Aaron Thomas Fleming. The spinning wheel and loom first belonged to Verinda Ann

Arnold Little, 1808-1910, who survived all but two of her eight children. She lived on her farm on Hwy 17 well into her 90s, often walking over a mile to visit a nearby daughter. “Grandma” Little died at the age of 102 at the home of her son-in-law, John W. Cost, in Elliotsville. Her funeral was held at Harmony Church in Helena. This spinning wheel was kept by Charles’ grandmother, Missouri Wyatt, who was raised in her grandmother’s home. It has been meticulously cleaned and refurbished by James ‘Bubba’ Sides for display on the lower museum level. Also in a showcase nearby is a letter from her son, Frank Wyatt, who served in France during WWI. It is signed, “Kisses for all XXXXXXXX, your son Pvt. Frank Wyatt to my darling mother.”

Don’t forget to join your friends and neighbors each month in Olde Towne for First Friday! There are always food and gift vendors, plus plenty to keep the kids occupied! For more information, please visit the First Fridays of Helena, Alabama Facebook page. Our next event is Friday, March 7. We hope to see you there!

Charles has also preserved a beautiful large double-string hammered dulcimer (also dating from 1830) that was played by his mother. About four feet long, the story is that it was made by casket makers of the day, who would make instruments in their spare time. Charles previously donated an extensive arrowhead collection, found at Buck Creek near the amphitheater, as well as a trophy that he won in the C stock class at the “Helena Drag Strip” in 1958 (now Roy Drive). Collecting bits of history has been his life-long interest. “I began as a kid in my own yard,” he said. “I spent a lot of time looking down, but you get to a place where it’s more instinctual.” Until 2006, he was an active historic item hunter in Savannah, Tennessee, near Shiloh, and in Arkansas and Missouri along

with three of his friends. These friends all passed from cancer in the same year and Charles confesses this slowed him down and dampened his enthusiasm. “It has always fascinated me to know the age of a relic, who used it and how it was used. I told my wife, I’m going to do this until I get tired of it, but I have never grown tired of it. I’ve just run out of help,” he said.


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Photography classes take off at PHS This is Kim Hinds’ fifth year teaching art at PHS, and her third year heading up the photography program that she has had the great fortune to watch grow. Kim, who is originally from Demopolis, achieved her undergrad in Business and Art with a minor in Marketing at Montevallo, following up with the school’s 5th year program for art education. She began teaching introductory art classes at PHS after graduation, but, “I was so glad when the administration decided to add photography- that’s the kind of art I wanted to do.” The first year of photography was a lot of trial and error. The class had no darkroom, so the focus was on composition, different viewpoints, and shooting techniques. A field trip

to The Birmingham Zoo and Botanical Gardens that year has now become a yearly trip for all photography classes. The program has moved up from local field trips as well- on November 20, more than 150 advanced photo and art students traveled with all five art teachers to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. “It’s nice, because the administration calls us the art clan, or the crazy art people— they just let us do whatever we need to do,” explained Kim, which includes going on field trips. Along with her, the “art clan” consists of art teachers Kim Harrison, Jenny Argo, Koren Lee and Maggie Brasher. When they aren’t on art field trips, this group of teachers still plans and works together. “We’re always trying to make the PHS art program better,” Kim said. They were able to help the photography program this year when they asked to receive the darkroom photography equipment Oak Mountain High School would no longer be using. PHS is now the only school in Shelby county that still has a darkroom program for advanced photo students. Many of the students now use the digital cameras they own in class, so they can learn techniques on their own equipment. There are also laptops, loaded with the free program Pixlr, available for

students to use during class to learn photo editing, which is an essential skill for photographers in this digital camera age. Along with class projects, Kim encourages her students to enter as many art competitions as they feel comfortable entering. “If you never submit anything, you’ll never win,” she tells them. Competitions force the students to pick their best work, edit their pieces, and sometimes put together a portfolio, which is all great practice for anyone who wants to enter the fine art world. Trey Evans and Shannon Lavender know how that hard work pays offthey both won awards in the Superintendent’s Art Show the first year of the photography class, which showed Kim that it was going to take off. She said, “It was crazy, we had just started the program and the students already had so much talent!”

The talent and excellence of PHS art students continues on, with Ashley Williams and Shane Dees being finalists in the Alabama Statewide High School Juried Art Exhibition for 2013. Recently, the advanced photo classes have been fine-tuning their darkroom prints, while the intro classes have been painting with light, using a long shutter speed for different ways on taking photographs. They will also be doing a bokeh depth-offield project on Christmas lights during the holidays.


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Residential Beautification Award goes to the Humphreys at 109 Pecan Lane

Neighbors all admire the care that Jason and Pepi Humphrey bestow year-round upon their yard at 109 Pecan Lane. “We wanted a yard with mature trees, and since this subdivision was built in an old pecan orchard, it seemed a good choice,” Pepi explained. Five additional pecan trees have sprung up since the Humphreys moved in and Pepi says the nuts are plentiful most years and

good for cooking. “We like that ours is a small neighborhood and close to everything—we can walk to Joe Tucker Park or the Amphitheater and enjoy the playgrounds with our daughter Ashlyn. And, we can watch the July 4th fireworks from our front yard.” Jason says his father instilled his yard care standards as he was recently seen, on a nippy day, filling some 20 bags with




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raked leaves. Pepi involves herself as well, as she grew up with a grandfather whose claim to fame were his tomatoes and his meticulous lawn that was like a luxurious carpet. The Humphreys brought in rocks from the woods in Lawrence County for flowerbeds and planted them with hostas shared by Pepi’s grandmother. They also have been nurturing a (notoriously slow-growing) small gingko tree—the only one on Pecan Lane—for the past few years. “We don’t like hard lines so our beds are curved and softened with plantings of hydrangea and gardenias for scent. We also like to use potted plants for additional seasonal color.” All the residents of Pecan Lane will welcome warmer weather and the reappearance of the Humphrey’s clematis-draped mailbox with its profuse deep purple and lavender blooms.

A few winter garden tips from the Helena Beautification Committee: Continue to rake and clear away fallen leaves as debris in the garden can harbor mold borne disease that can cause problems with plants in the spring. Winter is a good time to prune your Annabelle hydrangeas, Rose of Sharon, summer blooming spirea, wisteria, hollies and crepe myrtles. If you have roses with tall spindly canes, cut those back to waist high to prevent the winter winds from damaging the shrub. It’s also a good time to clean and sharpen your garden tools. Mailboxes are filling up with seed and plant catalogs! Plan now for what you’ll plant in spring.

Tyler Payne commits to Snead State Helena’s Tyler Payne lives with his parents, Craige and Angela Payne and brother, Nicholas. Tyler has played baseball since age five. The 18-year-old pledged to Snead State this month to continue playing baseball at the next level. Fellow Panther, Alex Urban, pledged to Wallace State that same day. Coach Anderson is proud of these two college-bound players. “They’re both great senior leaders and kids who have a good time playing the game. That's important to us,” the coach said.

Baseball is the sport Tyler truly loves. He says he and his dad spent a lot of time together over the years playing and practicing baseball in Helena. “Dad was always my head coach. He always took off work early to help out and I owe a lot to him.” A pitcher now, he was a catcher for many years. After pitching for the first time at a camp, he had no intention of going back behind home plate. “I came back to PHS wanting to pitch, but I sucked,” he laughed. “Coach White helped me become the

pitcher I am today.” Tyler says he first met Snead Coach Casey Underwood at a camp at Central Alabama Community College. There, he was able to show off his skills in front of recruiters, and that earned him that scholarship. Tyler has a longterm goal of playing ball at a Division 1 school. “Right now though, we’ve got some

unfinished business to take care of this season!” Sean laughed. Good luck, Tyler!

Devon Mines signs with Clark Atlanta At a signing party at PHS on February 5, Panthers QB Devon Mines pledged to continue his football career at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Defensive lineman Braxton Hoyett also pledged that day to play at Mississippi State. “These guys are both great men of character, and they’ve helped us a lot in football these past four years,” said PHS Head Coach Brett Burnett. Devon gave a lot of credit to the adults in his life for helping him along on this journey. “I want to thank my coaches for pushing me—even when I was feeling lazy,” he laughed, before turning serious. “And a big thank you goes to my parents, for sacrificing so much time and money

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to support me.” He said he couldn’t have come this far in life without that love and support from his parents, Rodney Mines and Melanie White, and his siblings, Darrius and Dorian. His friends, teachers and coaches were a big part of his journey, as well. “I really enjoyed my experiences at PHS, they are memories I will remember for the rest of my life,” he said. He chose to attend CAU because of how the coaches there made him feel welcome. “I felt like I could go to school there even if I didn’t play football,” he said. He plans to earn a degree in business or computer science, or both. “I’m looking forward to the whole college experience,” he said. Good luck, Devon!

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Barn Hill Preserve Visits Helena Intermediate School You could hear excited murmurs go through the audience of children at HIS as each special animal from the Barn Hill Preserve, located in Ethel, Louisiana, was presented by founder Gabriel Ligon. Educating the children about each animal in an up-close and

conversational way, Gabriel shared, for example, that the boa is a scaled reptile that is naturally camouflaged and kills its prey by squeezing or “constricting” it. The baby boa, Stewy the baby kangaroo and the giant African Spurred Tortoise were later available for individual photos with the children. The tortoise, a terrestrial native of Northern Africa, can weigh from 2 -75 pounds. It is the world’s 3rd largest species of tortoise, after the Galapagos (200 pounds) and Aldabra giant tortoise.

“One of these tortoises lived over 100 years in a zoo in Egypt,” Gabriel shared. The tortoise has only one shell for life, unlike the hermit crab. Its shell protects it from the top, side amd bottom, but not the face. When it draws its head and legs in, spurs on its legs act as a weapon of defense. Gabriel answered questions as well, such as “What happens when two tortoises fight?—They try to flip one another over and it’s very hard for them to right themselves afterwards, and they may die if not righted. The shell can bleed, he added, and wildlife rehabilitators can use special glue to help a shell repair itself. “Predators are lions, cheetahs, and hyenas and they can penetrate the shell and have a nice tortoise meal,” said Gabriel. Porcupines are not scared of anything, he noted, displaying Stella, an abandoned porcupine who was bottle-fed and is comfortable around humans. “Stella eats root vegetables and her teeth will never stop growing,” Gabriel told his captivated audience. “A porcupine quill can kill another

Volunteers help clean up library Members of the Coronel family, Ana, Marco, Miguel, Mario, and Marc Anthony in a Garfield hat, were on hand to pitch in and help with the library clean up day sponsored by the Helena Beautification Board. “I want my boys to volunteer in their community,” said Ana. “I tell my boys that your years in school are the best years of your life; enjoy them.” Travis McCoy, who works for


GE, arrived after thirteen hours on the road to work beside his wife, Kim McCoy and three children: Savannah, Emmah and Scarlett. “Today we have raked out the accumulated leaves underneath the shrubbery all around the building and put down fresh mulch (donated by city) in all the beds,” Dan Dearing said once everything was done. “We appreciate everyone turning

out to help so much. This is like Christmas for Mr. Dan.” Board member Ana Baker said the board has previously held work days at Joe Tucker Park and the Amphitheater. “We’ve had a great time, even on the day when it was pouring rain. Different volunteers have shown up each time.” Other volunteers present were Steven, Regina and Zachary Gardner, Rick Wolfe, Frank and Jack Miller, and Eric Wallace plus council members Leslie Bartlett and Hal Woodman. Salute!

animal if the quill gets stuck in the animal’s face and prevents that animal from eating.” Outright amazement was on every face as a one-year old bottle-fed kinkajou was introduced. “It’s a secretive (nocturnal) animal that makes it hard for scientists to study him,” Gabriel said. In the wild, the kinkajou like to hang from trees and drink nectar. They have a golden underbelly that has earned them the nickname of “honeybear.” In captivity, they may live for up to 23 years. Stewy, an eight-month-old red kangaroo, was the most cuddly animal of the day. He was perfectly happy to be photographed with child after child, as well as with HIS Principal Kathy Paiml.

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4/14 K CO (DET B), UNIT 43671, FPO AP 96426-3671; Al Anbar, Iraq; Karen Dickinson’s son

Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin D. Gilbert USCG, Machinery Technician; Key West, FL; Leslie’s husband, Annette & Dan Duffy’s son-in-law

SGT Steven M Bennett

SSG Jay Gortney

USA; Paratrooper/Rigger; Fort Benning, GA; Clara & Ken Lorino’s son

ARNG; 20th Special Forces; Iraq; April’s husband

APO3 David R. Black

USN; USS Stennis; Bremerton Wa.; Ruth and Perry Black’s son USA; 1-76 Field Artillery,4th IBCT, 3rd ID Fort Stewart, GA; Ed & Amy Bokenkamp’s son USA; 82nd ABD, 1-504 PIR; Baghdad, Iraq; Paul Zimmerman’s cousin

SRA Mitch Braswell

USAF; 16th EMS, 16th Special Op. Wing; Afghanistan; Mike & Judi Braswell’s son

PVT Vincent Brown

USMC; Chesapeake, VA; Leonetta Prevo’s son

Christopher Dylan Burrell

ARNG; 1/167th Inf. Bn Co. B, Operation Enduring Freedom; Afghanistan

SGT Brooks Gray

AMN Brad Hubbard

ALARNG; National Guard Bureau Headquarters; The Pentagon Shirley & Rusty Rigg’s son & Kim Rigg’s brother

SPC Michael Hubbard

USA; 1-32 Cav 1st Bct, Fort Campbell, KY; Dwight & Michelle Rosse’s son, Britney & Carlton’s brother

USAF Fort Gordon - Augusta, GA Rod & Susan Hubbard’s son

SFC Eric Bond

USA; Camp Liberty, Iraq; Ruth Meadows grandson, Kimberly’s husband, Bonnie Hubbard’s brother

SPC Eric Hunley

ARNG; 1/167 Inf. Bn Co. B, Operation Enduring Freedom; Afghanistan; Mike & Barbara Hunley’s son; late Chris Hunley’s brother

CPL Michael Jeffries

ARNG; 1/167 Inf. Bn Co. B, Operation Enduring Freedom; Afghanistan; Amy’s husband, Colin & Gavin’s father

Lt. Commander David Kang

SGT Dallas C Caviness

USA; 172 Inf. Brigade; Germany; Rebecca’s husband, Norah’s father, Rhonda’s son & Devin’s brother

USN; Japan; Stanley & Sue Kang’s son, Sunny Kang’s brother

1st Lt. William B. Cofer

USA; Fort Rucker, AL.; Tom Lefebvre’s son

CPO Austin C. Daniel

USA; Sniper Unit of 1-64 Inf; Kandahar, Afghanistan; Beth Eades’ son, Caitlyn’s husband

2nd Lt Eric C Darrenkamp

USN; USS Curtis Wilber, Yokosuka, Japan; Bond & Lisa McKenzie’s son, Brooke’s brother, Megan’s husband

CW3 Corey Lefebvre

USA; Fort Campbell, KY; Dorothy & Jim Cofer’s son, Deborah’s brother USN; Norfolk, VA; Mike & Claudia Daniel’s son, Justin, Tatum & Autumn’s brother USA; Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI; Carol Darrenkamp’s son, Jon & Stephen’s brother

LT James Brooks Dickey

USN; The Alexander at Ghent, 1600 Granby St Apt 455, Norfolk, VA 23510; Charlie & Janie Brooks & Janet & Dennis Dickey’s son

AEAN Benjamin Lee Doaks

USN; NAS Jacksonville, FL; Joe & Tammy Williams’ son, Rev. Clifton & Mattie Taylor’s grandson

LCPL Jared M. Fitzgerald

USMC; 9th Communication Battalion; Camp Pendleton; CA 92055 Rosemarie Butler’s son and Jeff’s stepson, Justin and Tyler’s brother

SGT Peter J. “Pete” Reese

ARNG; 152nd MP Co.; Lauren’s husband; Kai, Sam, Dalton, Brook & Kaiti’s father

USA; Ranger; Scofield BKS, HI; John Gray’s son, Lauren & Ryan Gray’s brother

SPC Brad Bokenkamp

Chief Petty Officer Termaine J. Pruitt

USN; NAS Pensacola, FL; Termaine Jr, Trevorn, Chelicia & Tristin’s father, Janice & Austin Pruitt’s son

SPC Jacob S. Lenoir

Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik B. McKenzie 2nd Lt. Jacob Allen Meins

USAF, Special Operations Command; Kathy Meins Martin’s son

MSG Jacqueline M. Moore

USA, 387th; Wichita, KS; Leroy E. Lucas’ wife, Cameshia, Shaun, Chibukia & Chris’ mom

SSGT Christopher S. Murphy

USMC; MWHS 3, San Diego, CA; Jack & Karen Murphy’s son, Alyssa’s husband

LT Commander Kimberly A. Oelschlager

USN; US Navy Hospital (Balboa)-Physician’s Asst., San Diego, CA; Ted & the late Sara Oelschlager’s daughter

Major David Russell Rigg SPC Dwight A Rosse Jr. SPC Patrick D. Sharp

USA; 82nd ABD; Al Asad, Iraq; Shawn Sharp’s son

SPC Ashley Bruce Squires

USA; 3rd Inf. Div., 1-30 Inf.; Ft. Stewart, GA; Jesi Mason Squires’s father, Bruce & Tammy son, Aubrey & Austin’s brother

CPL Rodney Stephens

ARNG; 152nd Military Police Task Force 382nd, Iraq; Andrea & AnnaBelle’s father

2LT John M Traylor, Jr

USAF; 552nd TRS; Tinker AFB, OK; Mark & Karole Traylor’s son

PFC Zachary S Traylor

USMC; 3-23 Inf; Baton Rouge, LA; Mark & Karole Traylor’s son

SGT John Christian Vansant

USMC; VMMT 204 Flightline, MCAS; New River, NC; Keith & Sherill Vansant’s son

SPC James Vildibill

USA; Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan; son of Louis and Donna Vildibill

Major Maxwell B. Ward

USAR; Afghanistan; Kathie’s husband, Maggie’s dad, Bette Ward’s son, Michelle (Lin) Saville’s brother

Adam Walton

USN; USS Nimitz; Randy & Peggy Walton’s son, Annalee’s brother

PFC Zachary Walton

USA; 3-1 Cav. Regt. Delta Troop; Ft Benning, GA; Becky Click’s son, Alex Walton & Sydney Mollica’s brother, Amber’s husband

FC3 William J. Welch

USN; USS Lake Erie, Pearl Harbor, HI; Devinne Brooks’ husband

E-mail Helena active duty military personnel’s name, address and where they’re stationed to If your loved one has returned, PLEASE let us know so that we can keep our prayer list current. Thank you!



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TO ADVERTISE, CALL the Publisher at 746.1188 / / Winter Edition 2014


Alabama Law Services, LLC Simplifying All Your Legal and Tax Needs

Justin N. Smitherman Attorney at Law 4685 Highway 17 Suite D, Helena, AL 35080 Office: (205) 419-4414 • Fax: (205) 419-4407 No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Alabama Law Services Celebrates One Year in Helena Law firm offers affordable legal representation and tax preparation for individuals and businesses Attorney Justin Smitherman is proud to have served this community for over one year. “I am very thankful to be in the position I am in today, and I wouldn’t be here without the overwhelming support I have received from the businesses and citizens of Helena,” said Justin. A graduate of the University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law, he grew up in Shelby County and was happy to come back home and open up his business. His law firm, Alabama Law Services is

located in the CVS Pharmacy center, just north of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market on Highway 17. Since opening his doors at the beginning of last year, Justin has become a part of the Helena community. In addition to assisting local residents and businesses with both legal and tax matters, he joined the Kiwanis Club of Helena and the Helena Business Association. He also made donations to the local schools. “I am happy to give back to the community,

and I will continue to do my best to support Helena and its residents,” he said. Most days you will find Justin working at his desk, but he enjoys speaking with people and makes himself very accessible by telephone, appointment, or walk-in. Justin offers free consultations for all legal and tax matters. He works extensively in wills, trusts, probate, bankruptcy, real estate, and personal injury. He also prepares tax returns with fees as low as $50 total. Alabama Law Services

maintains normal business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. However, Justin says he is happy to make appointments earlier or later and on Saturdays. If you are in need of legal services or help with taxes (who isn’t?), give Justin Smitherman a call at Alabama Law Services today and find out how he can help you. In closing, Justin offers the following message; “Thank you Helena! I look forward to serving you for years to come!”

Surviving Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Story Helena author Martha L. Johnson Did you ever think when you were young that one day you would be called by God to see over the care of your parents, in-laws, or other members of your family? In 2013, facts and figures from the Alzheimer's Association state that 5 million Americans are affected by the disease of Alzheimer's today. It is also estimated that caring for a person with Alzheimer/dementia will cost $203 billion in 2013, and by 2050 it will rise to 1.2 trillion dollars. For the last seven years, I

have gone on a journey of love to understand the disease of Alzheimer's. Throughout the book you will find pieces of our family story through our struggle with this disease so that the reader will have a better picture of what it takes to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. Surviving Alzheimer's is a book for those with aging parents. We are the ones who will become caregivers, care mangers, and family caregivers to their parents, in-laws, and other family members sixty-five and older. Not only will the book appeal

to families and caregivers, it will also help medical professionals in our community to understand Alzheimer's. The book will lay the foundation for what you need to know about Alzheimer's because one day it will be us standing in the midst of this disease.

Author Bio: Martha L. Johnson lives in Helena, Alabama with her husband, Roger, and is a grandmother of two grandsons that are the joy of her life. Martha received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of South Carolina.

36 Winter Edition 2014 /




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Kiwanis Club – February Programs

1-800-TREE-SERVICE • 205-223-2333

Friday, February 21: Members will meet in the Helena Elementary School Cafeteria at 5:30 P.M. to set up for our 10th Annual Pancake Day. Saturday, February 22: Kiwanis Annual Pancake Day, Helena Elementary School Cafeteria. Pancakes will be served from 7 A.M. until Noon. Kiwanis members need to be present between 5:30-6:00 A.M.

Tuesday, February 25: 7 A.M., Helena Senior Citizens Center. Our speaker will be Bob Lochamy, of “sports ‘n stuff” on 97.7 FM “The Peach”. Bob is well known in the Birmingham sports community and does public relations work. He cohosts a Sunday afternoon radio talkshow with Aunie Lindenberg and Art Clarkson, one time owner of the Birmingham Barons.

TO ADVERTISE, CALL the Publisher at 746.1188 / / Winter Edition 2014


HMS counselors warn parents about scary social networking websites

With so many social networking websites, devices and apps available, it’s hard for many parents to keep up with which ones their kids are using, especially when new ones start up every day. It always seems to be the newest service that gets the most love, which makes it hard to keep up. When Facebook first started, users needed an .edu email address to have a profile on the site. That requirement was quickly dropped, and now everybody and their mother—and their dog and their cat—has a Facebook page. Literally: 70 percent of teens have been friended by their parents on the popular website. Parents, don’t let this lull you into a sense of false security. “But I’m on Twitter, too,” you cry, “I’m keeping up with everything they do!” More and more often, the younger generation is leaving Facebook and Twitter for places on the internet with less parental presence. HMS Counselors April Tolbert and Ashley Nipp are increasingly worried about the dangers that these services pose for students in our schools. Places where your teens can post images or talk about subjects you don’t like is the least of your worries, they say. Some of the challenges these services bring include a more discrete way for users to create or share inappropriate images, videos and other content, as well as provide a platform for organized cyberbullying and online harassment without the check and balance systems of parental and/or school authority. Some of the more innocuous-

sounding services include Vine, which started out as an app integrated with Twitter. With it, users can make six second videos, or the video version of a Tweet. These videos can be made quickly and discretely with many smartphones, making it easy to video someone without their consent. This presents many opportunities for bullies to post embarrassing videos of their victims somewhere with a large audience. There is also the possibility for teens to post sexual content of themselves or others on the site. Another app that has become known to some as “the sexting app” is one called Snapchat. Users can take pictures or short videos of themselves or others, write and/or draw on their content, and send it to friends like a text. The thing about Snapchat is that after the content has been seen for the number of seconds that the sender chooses, the content disappears and cannot be replayed. This “disappearing act” makes some users so bold as to indulge in sexting. However, many smartphones have the ability to take a screenshot of whatever happens to be on the screen of the phone at the time, meaning those with nimble fingers could get a permanent picture of whatever Snap they were sent. (Snapchat does inform users when someone takes a screenshot of their content, though, so this may help in some situations.) Another messaging service, called KiK, functions similarly to Snapchat. All these services use a base of friends created by the users.

38 Winter Edition 2014 /

Another realm of services are made for connecting random users together via a video feed and/or chat section, much like the FaceTime feature on iPhones or Skype. On the surface, this could be a neat experience. However, websites like Chatroulette, Omegle and Oovoo have become known for users doing drugs, being sexually explicit or threatening violence to animals or others on a live video feed. If your student uses the service, they could be exposed to any of these each time they connect to someone new. Websites set up specifically for users to ask questions of each other are huge right now, too, as teens seem eager to share aspects of their lives with others. Ask. fm, and are all popular sites for this type of social networking experience. The problems with these arise from cyberbullying. Many sites do not require you to login to ask questions, or allow users to ask anonymously. This, coupled with a lack of moderation, means kids could be inundated with questions like “why do you suck?” or invasive, sexual questions or comments that can make them feel uncomfortable. The service called Pheed functions like a mashup of Twitter, Vine, Instagram and others. While its intended purpose is to be a service where users can charge for access to their content (only if they want to), it still has the function for users to livestream what they are doing at any moment. This could pose some of the same problems with sexual content as

Chatroulette or cyberbullying through comments as on other sites previously mentioned. Finally, some sites allow a more open space for commenting, similar to how you can post on a friend’s wall on Facebook. April and Ashley confirm there are students at HMS who have been using Yik Yak, which is a locationoriented space where users can post anonymous “Yaks” talking about whatever or whoever they want, where anyone in their area can see. Much like the websites Reddit and Facebook, users can “upvote” the Yaks they like. This anonymous and open service opens up a real possibility for cyberbullying and harassment. Even on Facebook, with all of its parents and school leaders, in closed groups or on anonymous pages, users can cyberbully victims in a way where they cannot be discovered and stopped as easily. There are even services online that can allow users to track where someone has been, using data in pictures posted to Twitter or Facebook accounts. This can be a very scary time to be on the internet or involved with social media. The HMS counselors urge parents to talk with your children about these apps and services, or ask which ones they use and discuss them, explaining why they could be dangerous. Both the Android and iPhone have options to allow parental controls on what kind of apps can be downloaded, and there are monitors like NetNanny to track where kids go online, as well. Please try to keep all our children safe online.

A word from Parks & Rec Director Jason Powers Helena Parks and Recreation will be kicking off its spring baseball, girls softball and soccer seasons in mid March. The anticipated season start date for baseball and soccer will be mid March, with girls softball starting the week after Spring Break. There are over 350 kids registered to play in the various

youth baseball leagues, ranging from Tee Ball thru 18-yearsold. Most of the leagues will be comprised of all Helena teams, with a couple of our leagues interlocking with teams from Alabaster and Pelham. Games will played throughout Helena at Joe Tucker Park, Penhale Park and the Helena Sports Complex. Games will be played

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all throughout the week at the various parks. Feel free to come support your friends and neighbors; there are never any gate entrance fees for our Spring sports leagues. A full concession stand will be available at our various parks for you to enjoy food, drinks and fun while at the ballpark. Girls softball is a growing sport in Helena with over 90 girls participating in our Recreation program. The girls softball leagues range from 6U to 12U. These teams will interlock with our neighboring communities to enjoy the game they love. Helena Youth Soccer is also kicking off its Spring season in mid March. All games are played at Penhale Park, typically on Saturday mornings. The soccer leagues have over 150 kids registered to play ranging from U7 thru U14. Helena is a part of the Central Alabama Soccer

League and will play other teams from around Birmingham and Central Alabama. All of our teams are coached by volunteer coaches, and Helena Parks and Recreation wants to thank each and every one of them for their commitment to developing our student-athletes. Our community continues to grow and prosper thanks to the volunteer efforts of many of the citizens of Helena. If you have any questions, please contact us at 205-620-2877 or

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Five senior Lady Panthers commit to play softball at the college level The PHS Lady Panthers have a lot to celebrate going into the 2014 season. Not only did they come out of last season with a 25-3 record, but Coach Amy Sullivan and seniors Caitlyn Sapp and Kristian Foster participated in the Alabama Softball All Star games as well. Both of those players, along with Becky Fox, Emily Spain and newcomer, Samantha Kusiak, all signed college letters of intent in November. Becky Fox, an 18-year-old star pitcher and daughter of Jeff and Tracy Fox, signed to attend UAB. She has lived with her grandparents, Kenn and Judy Fox, her entire life and credits them for helping her along the way. “My grandmother has pushed me so hard so I can make it to where I am right now—and not just in softball,” Becky said. She intends to study sports medicine or become a cardiologist at the renowned medical school, and expressed a desire to work with kids. That wasn’t the only thing that pulled her to UAB, though. “I like how the team at UAB is a family just like at Pelham. Once you’re a Blazer, you’re always a Blazer,” she explained. Becky began playing softball in the Pelham park league at age 7, and it seems like she’ll be playing for many years to come. Shortstop and middle infield player Caitlyn Sapp pledged to

Jacksonville State University. “Right when I walked on campus, I knew this was it. This is where God had led me to be,” she said. “I wanna play softball for four years and get my degree in nursing there.” Caitlyn has two sisters, the older Hannah and younger Sarah Grace, who both played softball too, but just for fun. Their parents, Murray and Pam Sapp, have coached Caitlyn since she started playing T-ball in Helena at age three. “My father has been my main influence and helped push me as a player and a person,” she said. Amy actually taught Caitlyn and Kristian at Helena Elementary from kindergarten to second grade. “I could tell at a very young age these two would still be playing softball 14 years later,” the coach shared. Pitcher Emily Spain has been playing softball more than a decade, too, starting with park ball at age five. After moving up to travel teams, like several of the other players, she began pitching varsity for PHS in 7th grade! It was her support network that pulled her through. “My dad, my family, my coaches and the other seniors here with me tonight mean so much to me. I wouldn’t have grown up the same without them,” Emily said. She will be attending Auburn to pursue a career as a pediatrician—she wants to work with Doctors Without Borders. “I

40 Winter Edition 2014 /

love the town. I kind of chose the school before I decided to continue softball—it’s a family thing,” she laughed. Her parents, Jack and Jackie Spain, and grandfather Flem Spain all went to school there. The future Tiger will be joining her sisters, Robin and Ellen, who are both currently attending the university, next fall. Kristian Foster, PHS 3rd baseman and daughter of Byron and Leigh, will become a University of South Alabama Jaguar in college. Her cousin Kerri, who played softball at UAB, helped teach Kristian and her older brother Nick softball and baseball respectively when they were young. The pair played in MacAdory, Helena and finally Pelham, and Nick continues to play in college as well. Kristian chose USA because of its medical school. She wants to be a physical therapist, because she has a lot of experience with the sports side of it, and she wants to help people. “I like the campus, I can relate to the coaches and players there, and it just seemed like a good fit,” she said. Samantha Kusiak may be a late addition to the team, only having joined PHS this year after leaving Thompson, but Amy is excited to have her aboard. “She’s a great leader and teammate, and has made her presence known in just three short months,” said Amy. Samantha’s parents, Tammy and Jeff, are very grateful

to Amy. “Coach Sullivan has been a great asset to furthering Sam’s softball career,” said Tammy. “But I dedicate my softball career to Tommy Barnhill,” said Samantha, explaining that her mentor and pitching coach passed away in 2011. The next step in her career will be pitching at Central Alabama Community College, which Samantha said has a great softball team with a 9-year championship run and beautiful campus. She will be attending their education school so she can eventually teach 9th grade math. She has three siblings: Kayla, Adam and Zachary. “If these girls’ number one priority is to be good teammates, everything else will follow,” said Amy. “And that is their goal. We may sometimes lose at softball, but we win at everything else with these girls. I am blessed and lucky to coach them.” “This group of seniors has refreshed and rejuvenated me. They have truly been a joy to coach. I enjoy going out on the field with them every day. Their names will leave a legacy in Pelham High softball,” said Amy. “Without their teammates, parents and supporters, we wouldn’t be able to so this,” she continues. “I thank each and every one of you for working so hard to make this program what it is year after year.” Well said, Coach, and good luck on the 2014 season!

Two Panther baseball players also commit to play college ball The Lady Panthers aren’t the only Pelham team with players committing to play sports at the college level. In November, two Panther baseball players, Austin Moore and Jack Pierce, joined the list of talented college-bound scholar-athletes as well. As both boys were a part of the Pelham High School 2013 6A State Championship team, it’s no wonder that they’ve decided to continue their already terrific baseball careers in college. Jack, PHS’s left-handed closer,

committed to attend Jacksonville State University, while Austin, a second baseman, will attend the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Jack, son of Bill and Freida Pierce, selected Jacksonville St. because of its fantastic baseball program. His older brother Ty, who graduated from PHS in 2012, is an outfielder for the Gamecocks already. “That’s definitely a bonus,” laughed Jack, who looks forward to playing baseball with Ty again. They also

have a younger brother, Will, who attends PHS. Austin, son of Tammy and Lee Moore, was the starting second baseman for the state champs when as a junior. He also chose his school for its

baseball program--but also for the engineering program they offer at UAH. “Getting the opportunity to play baseball at a great engineering school,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit for me.” Congratulations guys!

Pelham High teams ready for another great season

Coach Amy Sullivan says the biggest challenge for the Lady Panthers this year will be keeping everyone healthy throughout the long season. Since Amy had a bout with pneumonia last year, it’s easy to see why she’s worried. Returning seniors Becky Fox, Emily Spain, Kristian Foster, Caitlyn Sapp, and Maddie Walker are the players to look out for in the upcoming season. “They have all been multiple year starters with plenty of experience and leadership,” Amy explained. “And all of the young players have worked extremely hard this off season and have dedicated themselves to getting better,” she continued. “They are all very coachable.” Amy says she is looking forward to facing all of their opponents this year. “Every game is an opportunity for us to improve and get better,” she said. We’re looking forward to seeing another year of successful softball from PHS!

“One main challenge is always our focus on playing the game,” said Coach Sean Anderson. “We have several kids this year that will be new to varsity baseball, and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming. Getting them to focus and ‘just play the game’ can be a big challenge.” Jack Pierce will be the Panther to watch on the mound this year. “He had a great year in 2013 and finished the season with a 2-hit shutout in the state finals. We are looking for good things from Jack,” said Sean. “Austin Moore, starting second baseman, will provide good senior leadership and solid defensive work at second,” continued Sean. The coach explained that he will come to expect a lot of leadership from his returning players, as the team will have a relatively young line-up this year. Hunter Stovall, who had a great 2013 both at bat on the plate as well as behind it, will be the returning catcher.

Sam Finnerty is another returning standout pitcher who also plays very well as both an infielder and outfielder. “We look for Sam to contribute in all three defensive positions plus at the plate this year,” Sean said. The coach will look to Alex Urban, a returning outfielder, to provide leadership in the Panthers’ young outfield. He will also look to Tyler Payne, a senior returning pitcher and infielder, to help with this leadership. “We also want him to log a good bit of mound time,” said Sean. “We have several young players this year. They aren't young by class, but by the amount of time spent on the varsity field,” Sean explained. Connor Radcliff should be a good arm for us on the mound, the coach said, explaining he already gained control of three pitches this summer and fall. Tyler Wilburn will pick up some of the pitching load, along with helping in the outfield.

“Justin Anderson will add defensive depth to the infield, and Tyler White to the outfield,” said Sean. “Justin and Tyler bring athleticism and speed to their positions.” Cole Whitman, a sophomore pitcher, should see a good number of innings this year. “Cole is a good young arm and showed a lot of promise this summer and fall,” Sean said. “We worked out a game with Hewitt-Trussville as part of a three-way with Briarwood Christian on March 8, and we are looking forward to seeing our good friends Jeff Mauldin and Jeff Schrupp,” said Sean. “We have the utmost respect for these coaches and will enjoy seeing them and competing against their program.” “We will also play Hoover this year along with Baker and Auburn who we faced in the playoffs this past year. All of these are tremendous programs and we are looking forward to the competition.” Go Panthers!

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❆ Half day programs for

toddlers & preschoolers ❆ Classes run September – May ❆ Now enrolling for 2014-’15

Helena Business Association Meetings When: The first Tuesday of each month, 8:00 am Where: The Donut Chef on Hwy 17 This is a great opportunity for Helena business owners to network and educate yourself on what you can do to promote and grow your business.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT: Learn with us next year!



PHS Varsity Softball and Baseball Schedules PHS Varsity Softball Schedule Home Games Played at Pelham High School’s Judy Hayes Field day




Prattville Stanhope Elmore Thompson

Pelham HS Pelham HS Pelham HS


FEBRUARY Thurs. 20 Tues. 25 Sat. 27

6:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m.

3 6 7 8 11 13

14 15 18 20 24 25 26

TBA TBA Oak Mountain Spain Park TBA TBA TBA

Vestavia HS Vestavia HS Oak Mountain HS Pelham HS Gulf Shores Gulf Shores Gulf Shores

TBA TBA 5:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m.

1 4 5 8 10

Clay Chalkville TBA TBA Spain Park Vestavia

Pelham HS Metro Sports Plex, Huntsville Metro Sports Plex, Huntsville Spain Park HS Vestavia HS

5:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 8:00 a.m. 6:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.


MARCH Mon. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Tues. Thurs.

Fri. Sat. Tues. Thurs. Mon. Tues. Wed.

Hillcrest Hoover TBA TBA Chelsea Hueytown

Hillcrest HS Hoover HS Spain Park HS Spain Park HS Pelham HS Pelham HS

5:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m. TBA TBA 5:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m.

Tues. Fri. Sat. Tues. Thurs.

Head Varsity Coach Amy Sullivan • Assistant Head Coach Sabrina Tutchtone

PHS Varsity Baseball Schedule Home Games Played at Pelham High School’s Bobby Hayes Field day


FEBRUARY Fri. Sat. Sat. Tues.

21 22 22 25




1 1 4 7 8 8 13 15 18

6:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

Brookwood Bob Jones Hoover (DH) Baker (DH) Briarwood Hewitt-Trussville Oxford Auburn (DH) Chelsea

12:30 a.m. 3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 5:00 p.m. TBA TBA 4:30 p.m. 11:000 a.m. 6:30 p.m.

Vestavia HS Vestavia HS Pelham HS Pelham HS Hewitt-Trussville HS Hewitt-Trussville HS Oxford HS Pelham HS Pelham HS

Chelsea Hoover (DH)

Chelsea HS Hoover HS

6:30 p,m. 11:00 p.m.

Spring Break/Riverdale High School Tournament in Murfreesboro, TN

Huntsville/Birmingham Challenge Tournament Sparkman Sparkman HS Grisson Grissom HS Hazel Green Hazel Green HS Thompson (DH) Thompson HS

MARCH Sat. Sat. Tues. Fri. Sat. Sat. Thurs. Sat. Tues.

Thurs. 20 Sat. 22 Thurs. Thurs. Fri. Fri. Sat.

27 27 28 28 29

Independence Oakland Morristown West Siegel Dobyns Bennett

Oakland HS Oakland HS Siegel HS Siegel HS Riverdale HS

4:30 pm 7:00 pm 5:30 pm 8:00 pm 10:00 am

APRIL Tues. 1 Spain Park Spain Park HS 6:30 pm Thurs. 3 Spain Park Pelham HS 6:30 pm Sat. 5 Auburn (DH) Auburn HS 10:00 am Mon. 7 Oak Mountain Oak Mountain HS 6:30 pm Wed. 9 Oak Mountain Pelham HS 6:30 pm Thurs. 10 Henderson City Pelham HS 5:00 pm Head Varsity Coach Sean Anderson • Assistant Head Coach David White




8601 Hwy 119 Alabaster, AL 35007



(205) 663-5677

Owners: Adam and Rikki Lowery

Mon-Fri 6:00 - 6:00 /Sat 8:00 - 12:00n 257 Village Parkway

(Dearing Downs Commerce Center)


Hwy 95




Same Day Service Monday-Friday! • All Cleaning Done on Premises • Two Drive-Throughs to Serve You! • Cleaning dropped off before 10 a.m. will be ready for pickup after 3 p.m


663-9033 “We We Appreciate You!” 4035 Helena Road, Helena, AL 35080 • 205.207.7974 Custom Handmade Clothing • Monogramming

Tougie Baby — “If you can dream it, we can make it!” Cute, “stinking cute” is the highest compliment given at Tougie Baby, and you will say it in agreement with owner Kim McCoy and her sister, Tracy Mathis, after you see the goodies in this shop. Patterns, more patterns plus color; mixed but not matched; hodge-podgey is the exuberant style of today’s style-savvy kids. Tougie Baby carries vintagestyle swimsuits for little ones made by Chichanella Bella, plus precious swim/beach bonnets. The material is SPF50 with a protective sunscreen built in. Another modern-day line is Zutano, with comfy one piece attire in newborn to toddler sizes. “It is a line a lot of folks recognize and ask for by name,” Kim said. “It’s made from cotton that gets softer with each washing, so it’s ideal for babies.” “Monogramming is very popular here,” she noted. “I have

been monogramming linen/ cotton scarves, beach bags, and duffel bags for women, as well as handmade baby bonnets and bib sets that include a matching burp cloth and blanket sack. We also do custom baby bedding.” Leggings, gauchos and ruffles are very popular—“the more prissy, the better.” They can be layered with Kim’s Vintage Romper dress, made from fabric that has the look of an old-timey first grade reader. There’s the ever-popular Bishop Dress, John-Johns and classic knickers for little boys, and Kim invites you to let her create a special and custom Easter look for your little one. Something very chic would be a charming tea coat over a dress or a young Audrey Hepburninspired silhouette look. “We will show you customizable dress styles that you can view from all angles

Party hats befeathered and bejeweled in your child’s favorite colors can complement a birthday outfit. Your dog can even get a coordinating hat at Tougie Baby!

– not just see a flat pattern. Choose the fabric and the options that please you. A youngster can even ‘design’ her own look with mom’s guidance,” Kim said. “Text me your ideas of something you have seen or been inspired by and we will go from there and, of course, we go over sizing to get the perfect fit,” she continued. But hurry– Friday,

April 4 is the cut off date for custom Easter orders. Kim and her husband, Travis, have three girls at home. Savannah and Emmah are eleven, and Scarlett, at three, is her youngest model and known to be “something of a ham.” Keep up with what’s new in the shop at: https://www.

TO ADVERTISE, CALL the Publisher at 746.1188 / / Winter Edition 2014


CALENDAR OF EVENTS REGULAR WEEKLY EVENTS MONDAYS Exercise Classes, Helena Senior Center, 10:00 AM Police Explorers, Explorer Training Facility, 4:00-7:00 PM Fire Explorers, Station 2, 5:00 PM TUESDAYS Kiwanis, Helena Senior Center, 7:00 AM; 3rd Tues. 5:30 PM Story Time, Jane B. Holmes Public Library, 11:00 AM THURSDAYS Exercise Classes, Helena Senior Center, 10:00 AM Story Time, Jane B. Holmes Public Library, 11:00 AM

February 17th - Helena City Council, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm 18th - Helena Elementary PTO Kindergarten Performance, 6:15 pm 20th - Friends of the Jane B. Holmes Library meeting, 6:00 pm - Helena Intermediate 3rd Grade Program, 7:00 pm 21st - Severe Weather Preparedness Tax Holiday Feb. 21-23, For a list visit:

- Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast Setup, HES Cafeteria, 5:30 pm 22nd - Kiwanis 10th Annual Pancake Breakfast, HES Cafeteria, 7:00 am-12:00 pm 27th - Helena Planning & Zoning, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm 28th - Read Across America Day, HES, all day event with guest readers


1st - Gatsby Takes the Ball-Helena Belles Benefit, Sports Complex 3rd - Helena City Council, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm - Ultimate Coupon Swap, Jane B. Holmes Library, 6:00 pm 4th - Helena Business Association Meeting, 8:00 am, for meeting site visit or their Facebook page 5th - Emergency Siren Test, 10:00 am - Newspapers in Education–free newspaper, Jane B. Holmes Library, 3:00 pm 7th - First Fridays in Old Town–Shop, Dine, Art & Music, 6:00-9:00 pm 9th - Daylight Savings Time Begins–Spring Forward One Hour 12th - PHS Professional Learning Community Late Start for Students, 9:00 am 14th - Respite Care-special needs 0-21, must reserve - HMS Choral Benefit Dessert Cabaret, 6:00-8:00 pm 17th - Saint Patrick’s Day - Helena City Council, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm 20th - Friends of the Jane B. Holmes Library meeting, 6:00 pm 24th - Shelby County Schools Spring Break March 24-28 27th - Helena Planning & Zoning, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm

April 1st - Helena Business Association Meeting, 8:00 am, for meeting site visit or their Facebook page - Shelby Co. Schools 5K 2014-15 Pre-Registration, HES, 12:00-6:00 pm 2nd - Shelby Co. Schools 5K 2014-15 Pre-Registration, HES, 7:00-11:00 am - Emergency Siren Test, 10:00 am 4th - Spring Fling, HES, 5:30-10:00 pm - First Fridays in Old Town–Shop, Dine, Art & Music, 6:00-9:00 pm 5th - Spring Fling, HES, PTO Games 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Rides 10:00 am-10:00 pm 6th - Spring Fling, HES, 1:00-5:00 pm 7th - Helena City Council, Helena Municipal Building, 6:00 pm 14th - Teacher/Volunteer Appreciation Week April 14-18 16th - PHS Professional Learning Community Late Start for Students, 9:00 am 17th - Friends of the Jane B. Holmes Library meeting, 6:00 pm 44 Winter Edition 2014 /

Kevin Henderson’s aerial pics wow us: aerial drone video wows nation If you saw aerial footage of the roadways around Birmingham during the snowstorm on January 28, chances are it was shot by Kevin Henderson. The 35-yearold owns PC Remedy, a PC repair business, that has him traveling constantly. When he bought an RC Quadcopter drone for Christmas, he outfitted it with a GoPro Hero 3 and started taking it with him during his travels. “If I’ve got time, I’ll take it up and get some shots,” he said. The GoPro takes not only video, but still photographs as well, which were also featured in the video. The footage Kevin shoots is edited by his friend Daniel Clark, who works in video production. The pair met decades ago across the radio waves when they both started out as amateur Ham Radio operators. Kevin’s handle is kd4zgn, Daniel’s is kf4pwp, and yes, they still use their radios occasionally, usually for fun, but sometimes in times of crisis. They are helpful when cell service goes out. Seems like that’s when the

Quadcopter comes out, too. As Kevin spent all day on that snowy Tuesday driving his Range Rover around abandoned cars, picking up many people who were stranded far from home, he would stop every so often to send the copter up for some footage. The unusual circumstances helped him: “A snow day in Alabama is the only day you can get away with driving in the median, running red lights and going the wrong way on the highway or interstate,” he joked. Their video captured the interest of CBS in New York, who called Kevin for an interview. The Daily Mirror in London featured the video on their webpage. The video can be found on YouTube: watch?v=VTvDj6P2PXs Kevin invites everyone to check out his Alabama Aerial Photography Facebook page as well as his website, Thanks to Kevin for all the help he provided during the storm and the great aerials he took of our new high school.


Newspaper in Education Week program Wed, March 5 at 3:00 PM Visit the library and get a free newspaper! (While supplies last) Reading is fundamental, and the newspaper has great information.

Dolores Hydock Visits the Library


JANE B. HOLMES PUBLIC LIBRARY 230 Tucker Road, Helena, AL 35080 HOURS: Mon. 10-7, Tues. 10-6, Wed. 10-6, Thurs. 10-7, Fri. 10-5, Sat. 10-2, Sun. Closed. Greetings to everyone from the Jane B. Holmes Public Library! The staff, volunteers, friends, and everyone here at the library wants to encourage you to stop in today! The winter is a great time to make reading a priority in your life. The library has a great selection of books, audio books, movies, and other media. If you do not see what you are looking for while you are here, remember to ASK! The library often has items that are checked out or owned by another library in the Shelby County System. These items can be brought to the library and held for you. FOR FREE! Great News! The library received a grant from Vulcan Materials for $500.00. This funding will be helpful in purchasing new books for children, middle readers, and young adults. Vulcan Materials has a branch office and facility here in Helena, and they have always been so kind to the library. Over the years, the company has blessed the library and community with a wealth of monetary donations and other services. Special thanks to Ricky Duffey and all of the staff and management at Vulcan Materials. The library is always looking for Friends and supporters. If you are interested in having fun, meeting new people, and helping out a community organization, please call the library (664-8308). The Friends of the Jane B. Holmes Public Library meet on the third Thursday of the month at 6:00 PM. One really easy way to support the library is to simply stop in and check out some books or other materials. The library also gladly accepts monetary donations, books, movies, and music in good condition as well as office and cleaning supplies. If you have questions about the library donation program, feel free to call us at 664-8308 or stop by. Hope to see you soon, Library Director Daniel Dearing

UPCOMING EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES: Story Time Every Tuesday & Thursday at 11:00 AM Remember, the library offers some great programming! Mrs. Jennie is here to tell you some great stories and have a real fun time!

The Ultimate Coupon Swap Mon, March 3 at 6:00 PM This group gets together once per month to exchange coupons and share info. on where to find the best deals.

Finally, Mark your Calendar! Monday, April 28 at 6:00 PM, the library is so excited to announce a visitor known to libraries across Alabama. Acclaimed Story Teller Dolores Hydock will visit and wow us with some great stories about money. She appears courtesy of The Smart Investing Program “Making Cents” provided by a partnership of FINRA and The American Library Association.

Visit the library soon and check out these great Titles! Visit us online @; click on the left side—Library for more information. Also check out to browse the catalogue and place items on hold from home! FICTION BOOKS: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt; Standup Guy by Stuart Woods; Sycamore Row by John Grisham; Hazardous Duty by W.E.B. Griffin; The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom; Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner; River Road by Jane Anne Krentz; Command Authority by Tom Clancy NONFICTION BOOKS: Things that Matter by Charles Krauthhammer; David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell; Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly; I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai NEW MUSIC CDS–Out now or soon to come… Midnight Memories - One Direction; Loved Me Back To Life - Celine Dion; Bookmarks - Five for Fighting; True - Avicii; Night Visions Imagine Dragons; Annie Up - Pistolannies; The Best of Nickelback Vol. 1; Hunger Games: Catching Fire Motion Picture Soundtrack; Baptized - Daughtry; Prism - Katy Perry; Now That’s What I Call Music 48; Fortress - Alter Bridge; Make a Move - Gavin Degraw; The Woman I Am - Kellie Pickler NEW DVDS AVAILABLE NOW: Jobs - Ashton Kutcher; Red 2 - starring Bruce Willis; Thunderstruck - NBA superstar Kevin Durant; 2 Guns - Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg; Planes - Disney; White House Down - starring Channing Tatum Below: Volunteers came out to help clean up the library!

“Helena Angels” aid stranded motorists City’s spirit of community thrives despite the ice

We would like to thank all of the Helena police, firemen, city leaders and helpful citizens we’ll call “Helena Angels” who spent several days during “Snowmageddon ’14” helping people get to safety, shelter, food or medicine. Here are some of the good samaritan stories from Helena: Stacie Duke Harris’s nieces and other special needs students at HIS were in dire straights Tuesday afternoon. “My nieces have a chromosome deletion, and have crucial medications they have to take at night and during the day,” Stacie explained. A city first responder took her

daughter, Erica, to the students’ houses to get the medicine, without which they would have been hospitalized. “We can’t thank them enough for what they did for us and many others!” said Stacie. Another emergency situation occurred at Riverside Church Daycare on CR52, where a baby was stuck and running out of his special hypoallergenic formula. Mayor Mark Hall and Chief Doug Jones made it their business to get the special formula to him as his parents were stranded and unable to. City Councilman “Hewy” Hal Woodman was joined by PHS student and Boy Scout Connor Gaston, along with Alan Farmer, William Bailey, Adam Lansdon, Emily McPeake, Amy Gunter, Alan Rouse, James

Thanks to our Facebook friends for sharing their pictures. Above: Angie and Tim Ward’s daughter Lucy made a snow angel in honor of all the Helena Angels who helped our neighbors and kept our children safe. Other pics contributed clockwise from right by: Dana Burch; James Thomson; Laura Joseph, and Kelly and Savanna Thomson.


Bishop, Chase Armstrong, Gifford Usher and many other Helena Angels in four wheelers, Jeeps, ATVs and other vehicles to help stranded motorists reach their destinations. Kristi Carlson Watts has a couple Helena Angels in her own family. Kristi’s oldest daughter and sister, Taylor Riley and Kathy Whitman, made the trek to pick up children from HMS. On the way back, they got stuck and had to leave their car. On the ensuing hike home, they gave their blanket to a freezing woman stranded in her car, and their hot coffees to a stranded couple. “I am truly blessed with such selfless family and friends!” Kristi said. Helena UMC was among the many local churches and community facilities to open up to those stranded in Helena for a warm meal or place of shelter. Rosalie Oetting wanted to thank Laura Brookhart, Lora Lundsford, Michael Johnson,

Shelly and Andy Bailey for providing blankets, sleeping bags and pillows for the film crew stranded at Ice and Coal Gallery. David Schlueter and Thomas Trussell volunteered to help where needed, and Cara Hunter also opened up her home. “We thank Kevin of Zou’s Kitchen, who came back into work to fix dinner for the crew,” said Rosalie. Kat Meinberg, Amanda Watson and many others have pointed out just how thankful they are for the Helena sand trucks that allowed them to finally leave work. “When times are tough, it’s wonderful to see everyone pitching in to help, no matter where they come from, their background, political or religious views! To everyone who risked their safety or opened their home to help a stranger: You are heroes!” said Kim Smith. We are proud that these “Snow Angels” live in Helena!

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING FUN PLUS GREAT FOOD & DRINKS AT RIO’S! Monday: Service Industry Salute (Happy Hour All Day) Tuesday: OPEN MIC Wednesday & Thursday: KARAOKE Friday & Saturday: CHECK FB FOR WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT and then Party All Weekend Long! WATCH AMERICAN IDOL –

Come cheer for Jess Meuse with us!


tos Fundraiser Rio’s for San at se eu M Jess


Helena Hardware

TO ADVERTISE, CALL the Publisher at 746.1188 / / Winter Edition 2014


PLEASE visit our local merchants. They sponsor many worthwhile events and provide you with convenience, quality and outstanding service. Show them you appreciate them by keeping your sales tax dollars at home where they’ll do you some good!

P.O. Box 50 Helena, AL 35080



Mark R. Hall

CITY CLERK Amanda Traywick



Leigh Hulsey Pres. Pro-Tem, Place 1 Mike Jones, Place 2 Cris Nelson, President, Place 3 Leslie Bartlett, Place 4 Hal Woodman, Place 5

Call for Vendors and Chili Cooks! 150TH NAMING OF HELENA C E L E B R AT I O N

Sponsored by: Helena Historic Preservation Committee April 26th, 2014, from 10:00 am till 1:00 pm For vendor booths and food trucks contact: Charity Miller at For Chili Cook-off contact: Charity Miller at


Send us your articles & pictures! Article and/or picture submissions should be directed to: Photos should be in color, high resolution (just as they come off your camera), and saved as JPEG files. For additional information, call 746-1188.

For Advertising Information, call 746-1188 or Visit Us at Opinions expressed in the Helena City News are often those of contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein.

This and every issue of the Helena City News is brought to you by our advertisers! Get your eyes examined by

Dr. Jamie Reid

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(205) 365-7218

Call Today for Your Free Estimate • 24 Hour Emergency Service • Financing Available • Senior Citizen Discounts • Licensed & Insured

• Prevent Wind & Storm Damage • Dangerous Tree & Limb Removal • Trimming & Pruning • Stump Removal

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Helena City News  

Winter edition 2014