Helena’s year in review: January through June

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The biggest headlines in Helena January through June


As the new year begins, we take a look back at Helena’s biggest headlines in 2018


No Shave event raises $59,389

participating law enforcement agencies in Shelby County raised a record $59,389, which is $7,466 more than what was raised last year for the Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation.

HMS bookkeeper case sent to grand jury

A Maylene woman who allegedly embezzled thousands of dollars from Helena Middle School has her case bound over to a grand jury during its December session.

Helena receives grant for new athletic field

The city of Helena receives a $75,000 grant that will help construct a new multipurpose athletic field at the Helena Sports Complex.

Police Explorers earn state competition awards

The Helena Police Explorers won first-place trophies for traffic stop and burglary response, second place trophies for bomb threat response, arrest and search charges, traffic accident investigations and a third- place trophy in hostage negotiation.

Randy Fuller retiring as superintendent of SCS

Randy Fuller, who has served three consecutive terms as Superintendent of Education for Shelby County Schools, announced he will retire at the end of his current term.

Snowstorm hits county

Shelby County offices, school systems, local businesses and roads closed in response to a snowstorm that hit the area on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Taylor Bug’s Kids Boutique opens in Helena

Parents of infants and toddlers looking for consignment clothing at a great price now have a new option to shop in Helena. Taylor Bug’s Kids Boutique and Consignment officially opened in Old Town Helena on Monday, Jan. 15.


Norris approved as new principal for HES

Helena Elementary School has a new principal for the first time in 17 years after the Shelby County Board of Education approved Jeff Norris to the position.

Bo Bice to serve as ambassador for Miracle League

Several kids and adults happily made their way inside Helena City Hall on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 8, as they prepared to meet a rock star from Helena. Children and adults with special needs held up signs and took photos with Bice to celebrate his commitment to help the Helena Miracle League project in a series of promotional videos to help raise awareness and promote fundraising efforts.

ABC Polymer Industries LLC facing fines

On Feb. 20, OSHA cited ABC Polymer Industries LLC, after investigating the Helena plastics manufacturer following the fatality of 45-year-old Eva Saenz and concluded the company now faces $195,144 in proposed penalties.


Rolling meth lab suspect receives more charges

Griffin Allen Thompson, 43, who lists an address on River Crest Drive North, was charged with a second count of unlawfully manufacturing a controlled substance and a second count of possession of drug paraphernalia on Thursday, March 1, and charged again with possession of a forged instrument in the second degree on Friday, March 2. His address was originally listed on Lee Street in Sylacauga, but later listed in Helena.

Local church constructing new building

After eight years and growing to more than 250 members, Christ Community Church and its congregation will soon have a new place to call home in Helena. In recent months, the former building that housed Ovation Media has been transformed into the future home of Christ Community Church located at 2222 Shelby County 52.

Helena hosts inaugural mental health fair

Visitors packed the Helena Sports Complex the morning of Saturday, March 10, for an event aimed at erasing the stigma of mental illness. The free community event was sponsored by the Helena Police Department, Shelby County Probate Court and NAMI Shelby as this was the first time the organizations hosted an educational community mental health fair.

Amendment passes banning wildlife feeding

After months of discussion, research and an online petition that has gained several hundreds of signatures, The Helena City Council amended a city ordinance on Monday, March 12, prohibiting the feeding of wildlife and waterfowl that will include fines for offenses on city property.

Helena Dog House pet service opens March 22

Helena Dog House, which specializes in pet boarding, grooming, daycare and training officially opened for business on Thursday, March 22, at 97 Ace Place in Helena.

Helena unveils new service K9 memorial

On Sunday, March 25, dozens gathered at Cahaba Lily Park for the official dedication of the new K9 memorial that featured a bronze German Shepherd with a photo of Helena Police Officer Philip Richards with his former K9 Bak. Next to the photo, “Born to love, trained to protect, loyal to the end and leave no doubt” was inscribed in the memorial in honor of service K9’s.

Hundreds participate in 4th annual OHOH run

Hundreds of people gathered at Helena High School the morning of March 31, for the fourth annual Run For Their Lives 10k, 5k and one-mile fun run to support the Open Hands Overflowing Hearts and Elaine Roberts foundations to help end childhood cancer.


Helena holds April 6 ceremony to bury time capsule

The Helena Historic Preservation Committee held a special time capsule ceremony at the Helena Museum on Friday, April 6, as several items unique to Helena were sealed and placed in a stainless-steel container to celebrate the city’s founding date. In 2040, Helena will celebrate its 175th Founders Day and the goal is for future city officials to open the time capsule to find items and artifacts.

One dead in Helena vehicle-bus collision

A two-vehicle accident involving a passenger vehicle and a Shelby County Schools bus resulted in one fatality and the closure of Alabama 261 and Starkey Street the morning of Friday, April 27, in Helena.

Council donated $96,000 to local schools

The Helena City Council donated a total of $96,000 to be split among Helena Elementary School, Helena Intermediate School, Helena Middle School and Helena High School at the April 23 council meeting.


HHS Class of 2018 honored at Awards Day

Parents, faculty members and students all filed into the Helena High School gymnasium on May 2, to celebrate the class of 2018 during the annual Senior Awards Day Program and there was plenty to celebrate.

Race to the finish line

Thousands of yellow rubber ducks made their way over the waterfall at Buck Creek for the annual Buck Creek Festival duck race on Saturday, May 12, in Helena. The 17th annual Buck Creek Festival is in the books after another successful year.

HHS placed on lockdown after BB gun scare

Helena High School was placed on a “soft” lockdown on Monday, May 7, after school administrators were alerted that a juvenile student was possibly in possession of a handgun on campus, according to a release from the Helena Police Department.

Closing a chapter: More than 300 graduate from Helena High School

When freshmen students walked through the doors of brand new Helena High School in the fall of 2014, they knew four years later they would have the distinction of being the first class to graduate after being at HHS all four years. On Tuesday, May 22, the four years of academic, athletic, fine arts and overall success was celebrated as more than 300 students in the class of 2018 were honored during commencement exercises at the BJCC concert hall in downtown Birmingham.


Benefit concert raises thousands for Helena Miracle League

The Helena Amphitheater was rocking the night of Friday, June 1, as an inaugural benefit concert raised thousands of dollars for a great cause. The popular Helena First Friday event returned on Friday, June 1, and for the first time, the popular event partnered with the Helena Miracle League to bring a benefit concert to Old Town Helena.

Brooks wins race for superintendent of Shelby County Schools

Lewis Brooks won a tight election over Kristi Sayers on Tuesday, June 5, to become the next superintendent of Shelby County Schools. Brooks received 12,626 votes, or 50.7 percent, to Sayers’ 12,259 votes, or 49.3 percent in the Republican Primary Election.

 Allison Boyd wins Shelby County probate judge race

For the first time in nearly a decade, there will be a new, but familiar face in the Shelby County Courthouse to serve as probate judge as Allison Boyd received 14,147 votes, or 60.95% to defeat her two opponents in the Tuesday, June 5, primary election.

Goodfellas Social Club set to open in Helena June 22

One step inside the Goodfellas Social Club and time turns back to a period of prohibition, speakeasies and the Roaring Twenties. It may not currently be the 1920s, but thanks to hard work and close attention to details, this prohibition themed speakeasy will be a new spot for those looking to unwind and socialize in a relaxing environment in the heart of Old Town Helena.

New walking track project approved for HIS

The Shelby County Board of Education approved a new project to install a small paved walking track at Helena Intermediate School on Tuesday, June 12.