Changes in the new year

After 51 weeks of sharing about the people and events of our humble burg, it is always fascinating to take note of what, if anything, touches a cord with the readers.

One might think potentially memorable stories would be about people who overcome odds and inspire us, such as young Ashleigh Otis.

Those who have served our country might be appreciated, but the animal-related stories bring in the comments.

Judging from feedback, it would appear that the most pressing issue of the year in Helena was the welfare of the turtles in Buck Creek! Who knew?

In another vein, come year’s end, Helena will bid a fond adieu to Wildflower Wax, which brought Dave and Jennifer Rankin and daughters Alexa and Faith to Old Town along with their enthusiasm, talents and musical contributions to community events.Dave and Jennifer will continue their wholesale business from home in Irondale and be on the road traveling to art fairs, as they have in years past.

They hope to continue to rev up their candle products via a regional association with Whole Foods stores.

The French Flea has moved to its new location across the street and Southern Event & Bridal Boutique will re-open January 3 in their new space three doors up. Owner Tracy Murphy says, “We needed a larger space to expand our tuxedo rentals and our consignment wedding gowns.”

Called ‘Once Wed’, Murphy plans an extensive selection of gowns, including new and never worn floor samples, from the start and will add to it by accepting consignment bridal apparel.

Garments must be less than five years old and been worn only once.

I feel I have been remiss not to mention sooner the great gift bazaar organized by Robin Howell that was open pre-Christmas on Saturdays in the space next door to La Reunion.

An assortment of craft, artisan and gift vendors displayed seasonal gifts and ornaments, unusual scarves, jewelry, totes, pressed tin panels and mirrors, linens and affordable art, including bowls made from LP vinyl albums.

“I have learned from this market that people will come to shop in Old Town, if you have the right combination of merchandise. It has been very successful,” Howell said.

Wishing more of that success to all in 2011 and remember this resolution: Only enjoy the Buck Creek turtles in their natural habitat!

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e-mail at