News in 2007: April

FROM STAFF REPORTS

April 2007 was a memorable month in Shelby County.

Calera received a $7 million donation for a new sports complex. Alabaster tossed around the idea of banning public smoking. Columbiana councilman Tim Billingsley resigned to fight in Afghanistan.

With this Year in Review, the Shelby County Reporter looks back month-by-month on the news stories and images that defined the year.

Join us as we recall the triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures that were 2007.

This is part four of a 12-part series that will run online through Jan. 1

Calera approves swap for $7 million sports complex

The Calera City Council agreed Monday, April 2 to rezone 1,040 acres near Oliver Park where Chemical Lime Company wants to build a quarry. The approval finalized a deal to let the company dig for limestone in exchange for a $7 million contribution towards a new sports complex. The proposed park will be built adjacent to the future Calera High School and would include baseball, softball and soccer fields, as well as tennis courts and a walking path.

Child accidentally hanged

A North Shelby County boy was accidentally hanged on a swing set Friday, March 30, according to Shelby County Coroner Diana Hawkins. The 7-year-old boy was found by friends around 6:45 p.m. in the Highland Lakes subdivision off U.S. 280, Hawkins said.

Columbiana Kiwanis Club celebrates 60th anniversary

Columbiana Kiwanis Club members celebrated 60 years of service Thursday, March 29 with a banquet at the Columbiana United Methodist Church. The club was initiated in the late 40s to improve civic life. For the past six decades, the organization has worked to enhance the quality of life in the area by supporting programs that benefit children. Last year, the group raised more than $31,000, mainly through the Shelby County Fair.

Councilman resigns to fight terrorism

Columbiana Councilman Tim Billingsley announced his resignation, effective May 1, after being called to fight in Afghanistan. This was his third mobilization since the war began but his first deployment overseas. Billingsley recommended his wife, Tracy Billingsley, be appointed to the position until he returns. Billingsley’s tour is expected to end in June 2008.

Wilsonville building finds new home after more than 100 years

After resting on its foundation at Church Street for more than 100 years, the Wilsonville Masonic Lodge rested in a new location some 800 feet away following a 30-minute trip Thursday, April 12. The relocation was part of an effort to preserve the historic building, while making room for an expansion project at Wilsonville Baptist Church. The building has been the home of Wilsonville Lodge No. 510 since the group was chartered in 1921, said Gordon Fluker, a member of both the lodge and the church’s building committee.

Alabaster considers public smoking ban

The Alabaster City Council discussed a possible resolution Monday, April 16 to ban smoking in all public establishments – including bars, restaurants and offices. Councilman Bob Hicks presented a rough draft of the smoke-free ordinance at the pre-council meeting for council input. Hicks said the resolution, which includes a $500 fine for violators, would make Alabaster a healthier place to live, work and travel.

Helena braces for 6,900 new homes

The city of Helena continued to grow with the announcement of a new residential development, currently going up off of County Road 52. USS Real Estate announced plans for the Hillsboro community, a master-planned community with both residential and commercial purposes. The property sits on 3,600 acres and will include 6,900 residential units and more than 100 acres of commercial development.

Body found near Columbiana

An initial autopsy showed that a woman found in a wooded area near Columbiana was strangled to death, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The body of Sheree Gail Valenzuela, 32, was discovered Thursday, April 19 off Shelby County 97. Valenzuela’s last known place of residence was in Alabaster. The body was found by a man collecting cans around 1:30 p.m. Thursday on Davis Drive, according to the sheriff’s office