News in 2007: September

FROM STAFF REPORTS

September 2007 was a memorable month in Shelby County.

Kiwanis members opened a special playground in Helena. Money for new sheriff’s deputies was included in the county’s budget. Columbiana foster parents were convicted of abusing their children.

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

Kiwanis complete new playground

Kiwanis members and their children had a special spring in their step during the dedication ceremony of Helena’s newest playground. Some of that bounce was due to the rubbery material used in place of grass, but most of it came from the triumph of a mission completed. The park allows individuals with disabilities to move freely because the rubbery surface allows wheelchair access and most of the equipment is tall enough for a wheelchair to roll safely under.

Sex offender arrested in New York hotel death

A fugitive sex offender, whose last known address was in Alabaster, was charged with strangling a woman to death in a New York City hotel room. Clarence Brian Dean, 35, was arrested Saturday for killing an unidentified woman and leaving her body underneath a bed at a Times Square hotel, according to the New York Daily News. A maid discovered the body shortly after Dean checked out Wednesday.

More deputies added in 2008 county budget

The Shelby County Commission on Monday passed a $139 million budget for the coming fiscal year, outlining the creation of four new positions in the county sheriff’s office. The budget, passed by a unanimous vote, includes specific provisions for four new sheriff’s deputies. The plan addresses repeated requests by Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry who, for several years, has cited increased calls and growing demands during his pleas for additional support.

Council raises gas tax 1 cent

Pelham City Council members voted to increase the city’s gas tax by 1 cent. Revenue Director Mike Morgan said raising the tax to 2 cents per gallon would bring in an estimated $350,000 based on what the city receives now. He also said it would line Pelham up with neighboring cities.

D.A. removed from death row case

Attorney General Troy King removed Shelby County District Attorney Robbie Owens from a death row case, saying Owens neglected his work by recommending a convicted killer’s death sentence be overturned. King called the district attorney’s actions “incredible and outrageous.” Owens said King’s statements amount to little more than political pandering.

Creek found bacteria free

Samples taken by Shelby County Environmental Management showed no harmful levels of bacteria in Bishop Creek despite tests earlier in the summer that showed high levels of chloroform. Chad Scroggins, county environmental supervisor, said this test doesn’t mean citizens shouldn’t be vigilant when it comes to keeping the creek clean.

Foster parents convicted of sexual abuse

A former city employee and her husband were convicted Sept. 13 on sex-related charges involving two children. The District Attorney’s office said former water authority billing clerk Amy Holley was convicted of one count of first-degree sexual abuse. Her husband, Charles, a former juvenile detention officer at the county juvenile detention center, was convicted of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.