News in 2007: July

FROM STAFF REPORTS

July 2007 was a memorable month in Shelby County.

A former sheriff passed away. It got a little more expensive to go to the University of Montevallo. An assistant district attorney was charged with shoplifting.

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 seven of a 12-part series that will run online through Jan. 1

Former sheriff dies

Three-term Shelby County Sheriff James Jones died the first week of July after a long battle with cancer. He was 71. Jones, a native of Columbus, Ga., and the son of a highway patrolman, began his law enforcement career with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in 1974. He served as deputy sheriff and chief deputy before he was elected to his first term as sheriff in 1991. Current Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry, who served as a chief deputy under Jones from 2001 until his retirement in 2003, remembered Jones as a “strong leader personally, professionally and in his faith.”

UM trustees raise tuition 7 percent

Students enrolling at the University of Montevallo will pay almost $600 more for their education this year than last. The university’s board of trustees voted to raise tuition by 7 percent – the equivalent of $278 per semester for most students. The board unanimously approved the increase at its May meeting, saying little financial support from the state left the board with no other way to generate funds.

Science lab readies for fall classes

Workers spent the summer preparing a new center at Oak Mountain State Park for students to explore by the start of the fall semester. The Oak Mountain Interpretive Center, a joint project of Samford University, the state and Shelby County, will accommodate students of all ages when school begins later next month.

Police chief steps down, interim named

Tommie Palmer resigned as police chief, 18 months into his appointed term, explaining in a letter to the Calera Police Department that he felt the decision was best for him and his family. Mayor George Roy named Sgt. Sean Lemley as interim chief for the remainder of the term, which ends in November 2008. Palmer, who will continue working in the department as a sergeant, declined to specify what prompted the move.

School violates child labor law

A tip from a community member fueled an investigation of child labor law at Chelsea Middle School. The inquiry revealed a 13-year-old male working at the school, as well as a 15-year-old male working without a work permit. The two boys had been paid in June to clean the school each week. In the state of Alabama, a child may not work until after their 14th birthday. Once a child has turned 14, there are various age-based restrictions that remain in place until the age of 18.

Assistant DA faces shoplifting charges

Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Jean Snow resigned from her position after Shelby County deputies arrested her for shoplifting July 17. Snow is charged with third degree theft for stealing $70 worth of nutrition bars from a Wal-Mart. District Attorney Robert Owens and Shelby County District Judge Ron Jackson have both recused themselves from the case. The act is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and could bring up to one year in the county jail.

Helena makes national list of places to live

Money magazine recently named Helena to its list of Top 100 Great American Towns. The city of 13,500 ranked 91 on the list for everything from good schools and low crime to economic opportunity and sense of community. No other Alabama city made the list this year