Year of county growth and change

It’s that nostalgic time of year when we look back on the past 12 months, in anticipation of New Year’s.

The Shelby County Reporter staff has started working on our annual Year in Review. The two-part special report will run Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.

It will include recaps and photos from the most important news and sports stories of 2008.

It’s been a busy year in Shelby County, filled with all kinds of news. But I think there are two stories that overshadow all the others and will have implications for years to come.

—Voters went to the polls this summer to elect new city and county leadership.

Calera, Montevallo, Pelham and Vincent all have new mayors. There are also dozens of new council members across the county’s 14 municipalities.

The Shelby County Commission also welcomed two new members in Tommy Edwards and Rick Shepherd.

The decisions these new leaders make during the next four years will have a decided and lasting impact on the county’s continued growth and prosperity. Good luck to each of you.

—In August, most residents were shocked to learn five Hispanic men were killed at a U.S. 280 apartment complex.

Investigators think the men were killed over missing drug cartel money. In the weeks after the murders, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested several suspects. They are currently awaiting trial.

As gruesome as the crime is to talk about, maybe some good will come out of it. The murders started a dialogue between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama is even opening a branch in Pelham.

May HICA have great success in the New Year, making life safer and easier for immigrants and bridging the cap between police and Hispanics.