Year in Review: Recapping the biggest stories of 2018

Published 12:19 pm Monday, December 31, 2018


Below is the second of two installments recapping the top news stories of 2018, organized by date the stories published in 280 Reporter. The first installment can be read here.


Hoover passes tax increase ordinances

The Hoover City Council voted on several ordinances to raise taxes in the city during a special-called meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 10.

During the first item of business, the city voted in favor of adopting an ordinance that would increase sales tax by 0.5 percent effective Oct. 1. In the portion of Hoover that lies in Shelby County, the sales tax rate will be 8.5 percent.

The city voted in favor of adding a $2-per-night room fee in the city’s hotels and motels, effective Jan. 1, 2019. The ordinance passed on a 4-3 vote. The city also adopted an ordinance that amended its Municipal Code regarding the city’s personal property tax. The tax increased from 3 to 3.5 percent, effective Oct. 1, and was also voted in on a 4-3 vote.

Chelsea resolves to purchase sewer system

Chelsea officials passed a resolution to move forward on its plans to purchase the sewer system that serves residents from Shelby Ridge Utility Systems and SouthWest Water Company during a city council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 10.

During an announcement from the city in June, Mayor Tony Picklesimer said Chelsea residents and businesses have had to pay excessively high sewage rates, which have hindered the city’s growth.


HCS names first Career Connection Center director

Ron Dodson will become the first director of Hoover City Schools’ new Riverchase Career Connection Center.

Dodson, who is serving as assistant superintendent, was approved as director of the center at a meeting of the Hoover City Council on Thursday, July 16, after a recommendation from Superintendent Kathy Murphy.

“He is so excited about the work we can do in our skills trade center,” Murphy said and added that Dodson wants to return to a position where he works with students on a daily basis.

ADPH investigating pertussis outbreak in Shelby, Jefferson counties

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Immunization Division investigated a pertussis outbreak in Shelby and Jefferson counties.

ADPH identified nine children with positive pertussis laboratory results and 22 people with pertussis-like illness linked to people who tested positive, and provided a list of places visited by those who were diagnosed, including locations in Greystone and Mt Laurel.

New Double Oak campus opens in Chelsea

After four weeks of a soft launch, the new Chelsea campus of Double Oak Community Church officially opened on Sunday, Aug. 12.

The new church is meeting temporarily at Chelsea Park Elementary School, with plans to build a permanent home in the coming years on property already owned by the church adjacent to the Chelsea Park development, Double Oak Executive Pastor Frank Patrick said.

Kevin Johnson, a 2007 graduate of Oak Mountain High School, will serve as the primary pastor of the new campus.


Chelsea to add athletic fields, splash pad, fire station, more

The Chelsea City Council passed a $9.2 million operating budget along with a $12.8 million capital projects budget at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The capital projects budget includes a number of attractions to be added to city parks and road improvements over the next four years.

The operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19, meanwhile, projects a significant increase in revenue over the current $7.4 million budget ends Sept. 31.

Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer said a growing sales tax base will allow for a larger budget, including the capital projects, though $10 million of the projects will be funded through a bond issue.

Meadow Brook post office dedicated to fallen soldier

The USPS Birmingham Post Office Meadow Brook Station is officially the Lance Cpl. Thomas E. Rivers Jr. Post Office Building, in honor of a Hoover man killed in enemy action in Afghanistan on April 28, 2010.

A dedication ceremony at the post office on Sept. 18 instituted the new name, featuring reflections by Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer and remarks by USPS officials.

“Today is a day … we memorialize someone who paid the ultimate price for our country,” Palmer said. “I don’t like to say that any of our soldiers lost their lives; they gave them up freely.”


Hoover presents master plan developed with public input

After gathering feedback from residents across Hoover, city officials think they have crafted a plan that will maintain and build upon Hoover’s status as an “exceptional” city.

A master plan for growth in the city over the next 20 years was introduced to the public during a Planning Commission work session on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the City Council chambers.


Chelsea Community Center converting to membership format

The Chelsea Community Center will convert to a membership exclusive format for its athletic facilities effective Jan. 2, 2019.

Since its opening in 2015, the center has operated free to the public.

The change was announced on Thursday, Nov. 15, by Mayor Tony Picklesimer, who cited growth, safety of visitors and staff, and availability as the primary factors for the decision.


Greater Shelby, South Shelby chambers become one

After months of discussion, leaders of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce announced at a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 4, that the two organizations will merge to become The Shelby County Chamber, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The board of directors for the Greater Shelby and South Shelby chambers met separately during the week of Nov. 26 to approve the merger. Greater Shelby Chairman Joe Meads said the 32-member board passed the measure unanimously. South Shelby Chairwoman Jacqueline Gardner, with St. Vincent’s One Nineteen, said the merger was also unanimously approved by their 14-person board.

GSCCC President and CEO Kirk Mancer said the two boards of directors will combine to create one board with 35-40 members. Mancer, who will also serve as the president and CEO of The Shelby County Chamber, said all board members were offered the opportunity to fulfill their three-year terms.