Helena’s year in review: July through December

Published 2:16 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The biggest headlines in Helena July through December


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


2018 Buck Creek Festival sets records

The 2018 Buck Creek Festival raised a total of $24,625 and had the largest number of sponsors, vendors, volunteers, attendance and duck tickets sold the weekend of May 11.

Thousands pack Helena for Independence Day celebration

The city of Helena was the place to be on Tuesday, July 3, as the annual Fourth of July Celebration featured plenty of fun for residents and visitors alike. All the excitement took place in Old Town Helena as the celebration was hosted by Helena First Friday, the city of Helena and the Helena Business Association.

Sheriff’s office investigating death of Maylene man

On Sunday, July 1, at approximately 12:30 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a call of a possible drowning on a private lake located off Shelby County 13. When deputies arrived, they discovered the body of a deceased male next to the private lake. The victim was identified as Ronald Cote of Maylene.

Helena receives $8,000 grant to replace boundless playground equipment

The Community Development Fund Grant comes to Helena in the amount of $8,000 from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation and Development. The grant was discovered by State Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, while serving on the appropriations committee. Ward felt that the city of Helena could put the grant to use and called Helena Mayor Mark Hall to see if there was a need.

Helena BBQ Cookoff raises $968 for Miracle League

The air was thick with smoke the morning of Saturday, July 14, as several teams competed in the annual Helena BBQ Cookoff to highlight Helena Market Days. The event helped benefit the Helena Miracle League and those who attended Helena Market Days provided a donation to sample each team’s barbecue.

Woman shoots neighbor in self-defense at Maylene apartment complex

One man has died after being shot to death at an apartment complex in Maylene the evening of Sunday, July 22, according to the Helena Police Department. The Helena Police Department responded to the call at Fox Valley Apartments at approximately 5:43 p.m. and upon arrival, found Jim William Boykin, 39, dead from a single gunshot wound.

Helena Eagle Scout project helps restore historical cemetery site

A Revolutionary War Soldier with ties to Shelby County will now have a much-improved resting place thanks to Eagle Scout and recent Helena High School graduate Caleb Jones. Jones recently completed his Eagle Scout project that consisted of improving the visibility, fencing and overall appearance of Revolutionary War Soldier David Lindsay’s Historical Cemetery Site located along Shelby County 17 near Creekview Elementary School.


Helena student successfully graduates from Space Camp

Andrew Robertson of Helena recently attended Aviation Challenge Mach II at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center located in Huntsville within the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center. The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and adults with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

National Night Out brings community together

The parking lot at the Helena Marketplace located along Shelby County 17 in Helena turned into a makeshift exhibit for the Helena police and fire department thanks to the celebration of National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The National Night Out Program is designed to promote community partnerships between citizens and their public safety providers and promote neighborhood spirit.

Man charged with dealing meth in Helena, Maylene

A 57-year-old Maylene man is facing up to 20 years in prison after he was arrested and charged with distributing methamphetamine in Helena and the Alabaster portion of Maylene.

SCS launches mental wellness initiative

The Shelby County School District is launching a new initiative aimed at helping promote positive mental health and wellness among students and staff. The new initiative, Shelby Cares, is part of the district’s overall strategic plan and is a multi-faceted approach to bring awareness to the importance of positive and proactive mental health care and to identify community resources that are available.

Bowling fundraiser nets $17,000 for Helena Miracle League

More than 200 bowlers packed Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 25, but this wasn’t an ordinary bowling tournament. Instead, the teams came together for a greater cause and in all, helped raise more than $17,000 for the Helena Miracle League.


HIS raises $25,424 from Coin Drop fundraiser

It was a lofty goal, but students, teachers and parents at Helena Intermediate School came together and raised a whopping $25,424.38 from the annual coin drop fundraiser the week of Sept. 10.

Teens chosen to represent 2018-19 Helena Belles

A service organization that has specifically helped hundreds of teenage girls thrive in the Helena community with their volunteer work, civic responsibility and more has welcomed a new wave of members as the 2018-19 school year is underway. The Helena Belles introduced a total of 51 girls, including 19 new belles for the 2018-19 school year, at the eighth annual garden party held at Helena Hollow on Sunday, Sept. 9.

Jay Modi reflects on 20 years as business owner in Helena

After 20 years, Modi has taken the time to reflect on a town that has been special to him and his family. After two decades, Modi now owns a Chevron gas station, Top it Off Frozen Yogurt and Smoothies and Wash it Off Car Wash.

Shelby County Showcase of Bands rocks Helena High School

Helena High School’s Husky Stadium was packed on Sept. 17, for the 2018 Shelby County Showcase of Bands as the night included performances from all seven talented high school bands from Shelby County Schools, a mass band performance and more.

Heroes honored with GSCCC Safety Awards

The Pelham Civic Complex was filled with plenty of local heroes the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 26, as several firefighters and police officers from each municipality in Shelby County were awarded by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at the 2018 Safety Awards Luncheon.

The Petal Cart now open for business in Old Town Helena

A floral shop that specializes in silk flowers, fresh flowers for a variety of occasions, home décor and more opens for business in Old Town Helena on Sept. 28.


The Restaurant at Fox Valley closes indefinitely

After opening in February of this year, The Restaurant at Fox Valley has officially closed its doors in Maylene on Oct. 3.

Two men charged with trafficking cocaine in Helena

Two Calera men remain in the Shelby County Jail after authorities arrested and charged them with allegedly trafficking cocaine in Helena on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Barktoberfest returns to Helena for fourth time

The Helena Amphitheater was full of fur the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 21, as dogs and their owners took in all the festivities at the fourth annual Barktoberfest. Barktoberfest is a family- friendly event hosted by Two-by-Two Animal Rescue in Helena which aims to bring fun for the whole family to the annual fundraising festival.

Former Magnolia Manor historic home sells in Helena

The two-story home located at 129 1st Ave. West in Helena is one of, if not the oldest house in Helena that was constructed somewhere around 1877 and is listed in the National Register of Historical Places and the Alabama Historical Commission. The home was sold to a private family who intent to restore the property.

Helena’s Khushee Modi named Ms. UAB

Henry Kendrick and Khushee Modi of Helena were recently named Mr. and Ms. UAB the weekend of Oct. 20 for UAB’s homecoming. The scholarship competition is presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s National Alumni Society.


Helena Fit Body Boot Camp celebrates grand opening

Helena city officials participated in a ribbon-cutting on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Helena Fit Body Boot Camp in the Riverwoods Shopping Plaza.

SCS Superintendent Randy Fuller celebrates retirement

A framed basketball jersey with the word “FULLER” in all caps and No. 42 across the chest was proudly displayed in the gym of the newly renovated Shelby County Instructional Services Center the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 1, as administrators, family and friends gathered to celebrate the retirement of Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller.

HMS honors veterans with special ceremony

Helena Middle School turned into a place of thanks and remembrance the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 7, as local veterans were honored in the schools’ gymnasium with a special Veterans Day ceremony.

Helena resident qualifies for Duke Gifted Program

Reese Unnoppet, a fourth grade student at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Hoover, has been invited to join the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s prestigious 4th–6th Grade Talent Search.

Helena Belles raise thousands at annual powder puff game

After rescheduling the annual Helena Belles Powder Puff game from Nov. 15 after some unseasonably cold fall weather, the day couldn’t have been better on Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Helena Sports Complex as the game resulted in thousands of dollars raised for a local ministry.

Mike Jones resigns as Helena City Council president

Jones, who has served on the Helena City Council since 2012 and as council president since 2016, announced his official resignation in a letter to fellow council members on Sunday, Nov. 25.

New turf field among upgrades coming to Helena High School

The Helena City Council approved expenditures to construct a new turf field, rubberized track and a set of tennis courts the city council meeting on Nov. 26.

County police departments raise $65,000 from ‘No Shave November’

After one month of putting down razors and opting for a bearded look, the local police departments around Shelby County collectively raised $65,000 in a fundraiser benefitting the Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation.


Ninety-two HMS students inducted into NJHS

Ninety-two Helena Middle School students were honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 4 for their induction into the National Junior Honor Society.

Students, bus drivers collect 3,500 food items for those in need

Both Helena Elementary and Helena Intermediate came together from Nov. 26 through Dec. 3 to participate in the second annual bus driver challenge where students collected as many canned goods and non-perishable food items as possible on the bus they ride to school in a fun beneficial challenge. In all, students from both schools collected more than 3,500 food items in the weeklong challenge that were donated to Vineyard Family Services, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Oak Mountain Missions Ministries.