2017: The Year in Review, Part 2

Published 3:38 pm Friday, December 29, 2017


Below is the second of two installments recapping the top news stories of 2017, organized by date the stories published in 280 Reporter. Read the first installment here.


Camp introduces students to law enforcement

The inaugural Camp Journey at Oak Mountain Intermediate School taught students about law enforcement—and much more.

More than 40 students entering sixth grade participated in the free camp, which was held June 19-23 and staffed by school resource officers from across Shelby County.

Locals lend help to officer who lost home

The city of Hoover and many of its residents stepped up to help a well-known police officer whose home burned.

Chris Cochran and his family lost their Chelsea home during a fire on Wednesday, June 28, according to Officer Brian Hale with Hoover Police Department.

ChelseaFest added to Big Kaboom

Thousands of people came out as the city of Chelsea celebrated its 10th annual Big Kaboom, along with its first ever ChelseaFest, on the evening of Saturday, July 1.

During ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom, residents of Chelsea and the surrounding communities enjoyed vendors, live music, a designated kids area and a fireworks display.

Bunner gets 52 years in prison for murder

A 20-year-old Vincent man will spend the next 52 years in prison after he pleaded guilty on July 13 to shooting and killing his 18-year-old girlfriend on Clay County’s Pinhoti Trail in Cheaha State Park in 2015.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Clay County District Attorney Jeffrey Willis have announced Loren Daniel Bunner pleaded guilty in Clay County Circuit Court on July 13 to the murder of Vincent resident Jolee Nicole Callan.


Police, public connect at National Night Out

Hoover’s National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 1 brought together law enforcement and the residents it serves.

Thousands of people attended the event at The Grove Shopping Center off John Hawkins Parkway.

HFD receives highest possible rating

Chief John Wingate left the Hoover Fire Department more capable than ever.

Wingate’s retirement was announced at the Hoover City Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 7, along with news that HFD had achieved the best rating possible as determined by the Insurance Services Office.

Ribbon cutting held at new Hilltop facility

There was a lesson for students in the story of Hilltop Montessori School’s Phase 3 construction.

“You can do anything you want if you set a goal and work hard,” Head of School Michele Wilensky said at a Phase 3 ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, Aug. 14, the first day of the new school year.

And there will be many more lessons taught because of the $3.5 million, 12,000 square foot facility, which includes a gymnasium/multipurpose space, a teaching kitchen, music studio, science lab, art room and more.

OMMS students gather to view eclipse

The total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, brought together Oak Mountain Middle School students for a celestial phenomenon not seen in the area since 1979.

An eclipse viewing event was held on the school’s football field, with students donning special safety glasses and having the opportunity to purchase snacks, drinks and Kona Ice.


OMSP introduces new multi-purpose trail

The Alabama State Parks System and Shelby County introduced a new, multi-use trail to Oak Mountain State Park at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 29. The North Lakes Connector Trail spans 2.57 miles and connects Lunker Lake, located at the northern part of the park, with the rest of the park’s trail system.

Bentley named new Hoover fire chief

Clay Bentley plans to bring the values learned through his faith and as a fourth-generation farmer to his new position as the Hoover Fire Department’s top official.

Bentley was announced by Mayor Frank Brocato as HFD’s fourth chief, replacing the retired Chuck Wingate, at a meeting of the Hoover City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Firefighter takes donations to storm victims

Firefighter Stephen Leachman helps people every day, but when he saw the devastation Hurricane Harvey has brought to Houston, Texas and surrounding areas, he knew an effort beyond his regular job description was needed.

Cahaba Valley Fire Department and North Shelby Fire Department are accepting donations for relief that Leachman will deliver to those in need. He has already delivered one load of supplies.


Career training center planned for RMS site

The former Riverchase Middle School property purchased by Hoover City Schools will be used for a career training center, residents learned at a public input meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Those in attendance seemed to support the idea but did voice concerns, including about the possibility of existing academies being moved.

Community center planned in Harpersville

Harpersville has purchased property that soon will become a community center, library, senior center and storm shelter for the town.

The town purchased a 14,000-square-foot strip mall building, located across Alabama 25 from Town Hall and the Harpersville Police Department, for $480,000, Mayor Don Greene said.

Students’ drunk driving video premieres

A student-produced video intended to demonstrate the dangers of drunk driving premiered Thursday, Oct. 12, at Spain Park High School.

About 40 people—school administrators, students who participated in producing the video and members of the community who supported the effort—attended the premiere showing in the school’s theater.

Project could relieve 280 traffic, but some have environmental concerns

Residents studied the four proposals still under consideration for the extension of Cahaba Beach Road in North Shelby County and had submitted their opinions at a public involvement meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Liberty Park Middle School.

The project would connect U.S. 280 in Shelby County to Sicard Hollow Road near the Liberty Park development.


Hoover Council names Kendrick to BOE

Attorney and former University of Alabama football player Kermit Kendrick has been chosen as the newest member of the Hoover Board of Education.

Kendrick was approved for the position by the Hoover City Council at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, following a recommendation from the Council’s Education Committee.

Powell to retire as Hoover Area Chamber director

After more than 20 years and a long list of accomplishments, Bill Powell will retire as executive director/CEO of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce at the end of 2017.

Student’s cancer research named national finalist

Indian Springs School student Kenneth Jiao has been called “the young man who will cure breast cancer,” and that was just the beginning of the recognition for his groundbreaking research.

Jiao is shedding light on a potential way to determine if breast cancer cells are highly invasive and how to inhibit them from spreading throughout the body.


Residents voice thoughts about city to officials at Future Hoover meeting

Residents of the eastern side of Hoover voiced concerns about feeling disconnected from the city during the final Future Hoover meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Greystone Elementary School.

Mayor Frank Brocato described the Future Hoover meetings as an “opportunity for our citizens to have a dialogue with the mayor’s office and city officials.”

Kristi Ingram remembered in Chelsea

From Friday, Nov. 24 through Tuesday, Nov. 28, the city of Chelsea flew its flag at half-staff in remembrance of a Chelsea local who had a lasting impact on the community.

Kristi Ingram, who was an active volunteer, church member and the wife of Chelsea city council member David Ingram, died on Nov. 24. David said she lived selflessly while fighting breast cancer for many years.