Friday, October 1, 2010

Free Trash Day Coming

Thanks to my wonderful neighbor, Teresa Givan, for forwarding a note that the Shelby County Landfill has set Saturday, October 9, 2010, for a free day.  You can take yard debris, trash, or any other discards to the landfill for no charge.  Sounds like I really ought to start working on the garage!!

Also note that Fall has arrived with a bang.  My weather station recorded several 100 degree highs during September, but then some colder air finally arrived.  September 25th was the last high above 90 and it looks like the hot summer of 2010 has finally been shut down!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recycling Update

It's Wednesday, August 11th, and recycling day in Woodvale.  I drove through the neighborhood this morning around 7:30 and counted 13 recycling bins at the curbs.  So it appears the recycling effort has stabilized with no significant changes in the number of households recycling.

I signed up for the full package, so I am very pleased to be able to report that my wife and I have recycled 890 pounds of stuff.  That's not bad for a household of two plus the dog!  According to RecycleBanks web page that means we've saved a tree and 113 gallons of oil.  More importantly, I think, that means 890 pounds of stuff that did not go into a landfill.

I hope everyone in Woodvale will seriously consider recycling.  I believe it is a win-win situation for everyone and it is not very expensive to do.  Go to RecycleBank to sign up.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Water and a Show

Water Leak Fixed

The City of Helena Water Department was on Woodvale Drive yesterday, June 22nd, to fix a water leak as pictured below.  The water leak was in a pipe extending from the water main to a house on the south side of Woodvale Drive.  I know the leak was reported to the Water Department several days earlier.  When I talked to the Water Department folks on the scene, they said they were aware of it but had a lot of jobs that had to be done and this leak was rather small.

Upcoming Show at Helena United Methodist Church

Want a great evening of music and free refreshments?  Plan to take in the music production, Thank You for the Music, to be presented on Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26, at 7 pm at Helena United Methodist Church on CR 58.  The Fine Arts Department has been working on the program since the first of the year and it features some great music, wonderful talent, and dancing, too!  Don't miss this one!  Here is a picture from the tech rehearsal last night.


Friday, June 18, 2010

House Fire in Woodvale

Another tragic event for our subdivision.  A house fire occurred about 9:30 to 10:00 pm or so following a thunderstorm with very intense lightning.  The thunderstorm dropped over an inch of rain on the area and was the only thunderstorm in Central Alabama for a couple of hours this evening.

The pictures below are just a couple of shots I made with my phone so they are not very good.  The Helena Fire Department responded as soon as the fire was reported and one of my neighbors noted that flames were shooting over 80 feet into the air at one point.

The house on Woodvale Road was not occupied at the time.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Helena News Items

Helena Market Days

If you have not been to Helena Market Days, now is the time to mark your calendar for the next several weekends.  Helena Market Days brings a wonderful collection of local producers to the Buck Creek Amphitheater Park each Saturday through September 27th.  Here is a small collection of pictures I took this past Saturday - talk about GREAT eating!  And all produced nearby!

I had never heard of papaya squash, the white corn was delicious, and the breakmaker's bread was still warm!  Check it out - you will not be sorry!

Bypass Opens

The bypass is now fully open running from Highway 52 west of Helena to CR 17 southeast of Helena.  Hopefully as the bypass becomes better known it will help to reduce traffic in the Publix/Winn Dixie area.

Trees Trimmed

Special thanks to the City of Helena for responding so quickly to my request for help in trimming the trees that were obscuring the visibility exiting from Woodvale Drive across from the Kangaroo.  Trees in both directions were nipped back allowing for greater visibility as you turn out onto CR 95.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poll Change Reminder

Just a reminder to all Woodvale residents that the polling location for the upcoming primary on June 1st has changed.  Woodvale residents will now go to the Helena Civic Center on Ruffin Road to vote.

The Civic Center offers plenty of space for voting and parking to make the task a bit easier.

Remember, exercise your rights as a citizen and vote during the upcoming primary.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Great News

It's a little after 8 pm on Friday, March 26th, and I have just gotten off the phone with Laura Steele, daughter of Annette Weber, our Woodvale neighbor who was swept into a storm drain during the heavy rains of March 10th.

Mrs. Weber is doing much better, Laura told me.  She has had her breathing tube reduced in size so she has gotten her voice back for the first time since the accident.  She has also been moved into a regular room and is off the ventilator.  She and the family are hopeful that she may be able to come home next week.

Mrs. Weber's sister, Carole, has been posting information on the Caring Bridge web site.  Go to and enter 'annetterweber' as the web page you want to visit.  It is likely to ask you for an email address and to create a user name and password.  Once that is done, you can read the updates and the whole story.

This is such wonderful news.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


Here is a quick roundup of some things happening in and around WHOA (that's Woodvale HomeOwners Association).

Pancake Breakfast
Don't forget the FREE pancake breakfast at Helena United Methodist Church this Saturday, March 27th, from 8 to 10 am.  Come on out and enjoy some pancakes and fellowship.

New Eating Place Coming
A new dining establishment will open in late April or early May in the old Elements location at the corner of Highway 58 and 95.  It will be called "The City Grill" and will served traditional southern dishes with a few surprise dishes.  Phyllis Pickle whose family is from Taiwan will showcase her skills at southern cooking and add some Asian dishes to the menu.  I understand that they plan to be open for lunch and dinner, but they may expand the schedule.

Update on Mrs. Weber
I understand that Mrs. Weber, our Woodvale neighbor who had a harrowing experience with the heavy rain in early March, continues to improve.  Praise God for that.  No exact word on when she might be back in her own home.

American Idol at LaReunion
So, have you ever wanted to be on American Idol?  Are you willing to take a chance on fame? Helena is having its very on idol contest at LaReunion.  The auditions start today and continue until March 31st.  Here's what to do:
1. Come into LaReunion in Helena's Old Town between 5 and 7 pm.2. Sing any song a cappella for 60 seconds for the camera.3. On March 31st, the judges will pick the top ten.

After that, you are in the competition and will have your first performance on April 2nd.  Entry fee to enter is $7.  Judges are Andrew Henderson, owner of Lost n Sound Studio, and Erin Trapolino, owner of Old Towne Music.

The grand prize includes a session with a music coach, recording your own demo CD, and performing at
Helena's Buck Creek Festival!

That's all for now.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unfortunate Happening

In the heavy rain last week, there was a near tragedy at the front of the Woodvale subdivision.  In a nutshell, Mrs. Webber was trying to collect her garbage can in her backyard, slipped, slid into the ditch which was running fast and full, and traveled through the storm drain to the other side.  Thanks to the fast action of a nearby Helena police officer, she was successfully rescued but not before suffering a heart attack and other injuries.

Probably the best way to learn about what happened is to view the story aired by ABC 3340.  You can get it here.

Please be in prayer for the Webber family.  It is my understanding that she is improving but has a long way to go in her recovery.  Jane Peters and Tobie Quick were circulating through the neighborhood over the weekend getting a card signed for Mrs. Webber.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 - The GREAT Alabama Homecoming

If you haven't heard already, all cities in Alabama are celebrating the small town in 2010.  In Helena we will have our celebration during the Buck Creek Festival and it will be a special Helena Homecoming.  All former residents are invited to return for the celebration.

Not only will there be special events but there are also plans to open a Helena Museum and the revealing of a new historic marker.

More information can be found here - The Great Alabama Homecoming Pamphlet


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tornado Safety the Focus

The focus on Thursday night at 7 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers will be tornado safety.  March, April, and May are the Spring tornado season in Alabama and much of the Southeast US, so Brian Peters from right here in Woodvale will be doing a presentation Thursday evening to help everyone get ready for the upcoming severe weather season.  While the main focus will be on tornadoes, there will be pointers on keeping safe from other types of severe weather, too.

Advance preparation is an important element to keeping you and your family safe.  Do you have a plan?  Do you know where the safest place in your home is?  Do your children know the safest place?  Get information about these topics and more Thursday, March 11th, at City Hall.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pancakes and Hometown

Pancakes - and FREE TOO ! ! !
Helena United Methodist Church will be serving a free pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 am on Saturday, March 27th, in the fellowship hall of the church on Highway 58.  The breakfast is open to anyone and everyone with no obligation!  So come on by for a free breakfast and a little community!

On May 7-8, 2010*
in conjunction with the annual
Buck Creek Festival,
The City of Helena will host a
homecoming event.

Please tell your friends, family, and
former neighbors who have
moved from Helena
to save the date for this
community-wide celebration of
Helena’s past and present.
*2010 is Alabama’s “Year of Alabama Small Towns & Downtowns”


Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Few Newsy Tidbits

Buck Creek Festival:

The Buck Creek Festival art contest was concluded a week ago and here is the winning design that will be used on the t-shirts for this year's event to be held May 7 and 8.  Be sure to mark your calendar for this wonderful local free event and check the web page at for the latest updates on bands and schedules.


Another quick drive through Woodvale and Augusta Point on Wednesday revealed a few more big blue recycling bins.  Augusta Point had 4 and Woodvale had 9, up 2 from two weeks ago.

And I got my first report on the February 13th recycling pickup - 82 pounds of material recycled.  That really means a lot since all of that did not go into a landfill.  A neighbor reported their total at 42 pounds.

Cam Ward:

Cam Ward was in Helena Monday evening for a fundraising event at Magnolia Manor.  He is running for state senator for this area.  The crowd was not heavy, so I had a wonderful opportunity to chat with Mr. Ward.  He strikes me as a down-to-earth person and one deserving of our vote.  He seems to be thinking about how things ought to be and not accepting of the way it has always been done.  Check out his web site at

Severe Weather Season Just Ahead:

I know everyone is still shivering with this cold winter, but we're only a week away from March which begins our three-month severe weather season.  The spring severe weather season in Alabama can be quite dangerous, so it is important for every person to know about severe weather safety.  Knowing what to do when severe weather threatens can save your life.  Do your children know what to do?  You can find the latest information at


Monday, February 22, 2010

Road Closures That Might Impact Helena

The railroad crossing on Hwy 52 in Pelham has a notice that it will be closed on February 23rd, Tuesday.

And the crossing on Hwy 66 or Industrial Drive in Alabaster showed a similar sign for February 24th.

Both of these closings could impact your driving over the next couple of days, so please be advised of these and be sure to take a different route if necessary.


Recycling Rewards

This coming Wednesday will be the recycling pickup again.  My 95-gallon bin is nearly full already, and I just found out that the last pickup netted me 83 points in the reward program.  According to RecycleBank, I saved nearly a quarter of a tree and about 11 gallons of gasoline.

What intrigued me when I was checking out my rewards was to see the number of places in Helena where I can eventually get a reward when I come to redeem my points.  Please don't consider this list all inclusive and I'm sure it will be changing as new businesses are added, but here is a list of those businesses that I know are in the City of Helena (in bold) or that are nearby:

Barnes & Noble
Bed Bath & Beyond
Best Buy
Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steaks, Red Lobster)
Dick's Sporting Goods
Frankie's Market and Deli
Gus's Hot Dogs
Helena Fitness
Panera Bread
Rite Aid
Ruby Tuesday
Sam's Club
The Hair Station
The Home Depot

In addition to these businesses where the rewards can be used, there were many more national products like Coca Cola and Purex.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Road News

Today, Thursday, February 18, 2010, the City of Helena will open a 2.5 mile portion of Hillsboro Parkway from County Road 52 to County Road 91.  A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 10:30 am.  The rest of the road, which is being finished now and includes improvements to CR 17 , should open soon.  The ribbon cutting will take place at the end of the Hillsboro Parkway and Hwy 52.  If you need further information, you call Joy Childers at Helena City Hall at 663-9301.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recycling UP ! ! !

I took a quick drive through Woodvale and Augusta Pointe this morning, and I was thrilled to see that the number of recycling bins had nearly doubled since the last collection.

Augusta Pointe had 4 bins (2 last time) on the street while Woodvale was up to 7 bins (4 last time).  This is great to see the amount of participation increase.  Let's keep it up.  Recycling is good for everyone and it really does not require a lot of extra effort.


Events of Interest

There is a lot happening in Helena, so this is just a quick roundup of some interesting events that I am currently aware of.

Belly Fillers is a new sandwich shop in the Jet Pep station on Highway 17 next to the Regions Bank.  You can check out their offerings at their new web site

And a new Italian restaurant, Lucia's Italian, will be opening soon in Riverwoods.  There is a banner on the building, but I don't have any details on exactly when they will be opening.

I've lived in Helena for nearly 21 years and Movie Gallery has always been here, first in The Shoppes at Dearing Downs and then in the Winn Dixie shopping center.  Well, Movie Gallery is closing and they are selling everything in the store including DVD racks.

Consignment Sale:
The Church at Cahaba Bend is having a "New 2 You" Spring Children's Consignment Sale!  Registration begins for consignors on February 1 (open to the public!) and the sale will be on Friday and Saturday, March 5 & 6.  The hours are Friday, 9:00am-7:00pm, and Saturday, 9:00am-1:00pm.

Everyone is welcome, prices are low, and they are one of the only consignment sales left in Shelby County!  The church is located on Highway 52 across the street from Helena Intermediate School.
Saturday is also 50% off day! Most items will be 50% off (as marked by seller on the tags).  You can check their web for details -

Reading Event:
The Big Read, brought to us by The National Endowment for the Arts, is designed to encourage everyone to read for pleasure and enlightenment. The selection for this year is Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.  The Helena Public Library has some great events scheduled in partnership with The Big Read, beginning with their Big Kick-off on Febuary 15 at 6:00 PM.  None other than Mark Twain himself will be here in Helena!  He will talk to us about his life, and there will be a cake as well.  Everyone is welcome, so please come join us!  Reading is so essential and this type of activity will help to instill the importance of reading in our children.

Buck Creek Civitan:
The Buck Creek Civitan meets the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at Helena United Methodist Church in the Youth Room on the second floor.  Social time starts at 6:00 pm and the meeting begins around 6:30 pm.  There are a lot of activities planned for the spring and they need YOUR help to make things happen in our community.  Consider making the Civitan a part of your life.

For Older Adults:
The Helena Fire Department is offering "Remembering When: a fire and fall prevention for older adults", on Saturday, February 27 from 10 am to noon.  The event will be held at the senior citizens building and it is free.  If you have questions, please contact Lt. Heath Bartlett at 212-8186 or

So a lot of things happening in our community!


Friday, February 5, 2010

National Weatherman's Day

Okay, so this post is somewhat personal since I AM a weatherman!  National Weatherman's Day honors weathermen and women who work hard to accurately predict the often fickle weather.  Despite major technological advances and supercomputers, forecasting the weather is still a trickyand ever changing business.

Knowing the weather is important in so many ways.  It affect how we dress, where we go, and even if we go.  Space launches are made or delayed depending upon the weather.  And, knowing the weather can save lives.  The most obvious example is knowing when and where hurricanes or tornados may hit.

According to the Air Force News, Weatherman's Day "commemorates the birth of John Jeffries, one of America's first weathermen".  Jeffries was born on Feb 5, 1744.  He kept weather records from 1774 to1816.

If you see a weatherman today, give them your appreciation for a job well done.

While we know why this day was created, we do not know who initiated it or when.  I could find no documentation in congressional records to confirm that this is truely a national day.


PS  I am aware of at least two weather people who live in Helena, myself and Ashley Brand who lives in Hillsboro.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Pancake Breakfast Feb. 13th

Mark your calendar now for the free community pancake breakfast put on by Helena United Methodist Church - that's right, it's free!  It will be held at the church on Highway 58 on Saturday, February 13th, beginning at 7 am  and is open to the whole community.  So if you love pancakes and want a free breakfast, come on by for a great start to your day.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

RecycleBank Activation Codes Arrive

Today's postal delivery brought a small foldover card from RecycleBank containing the activation code for my RecycleBank account.  Starting with the next pickup on February 10th, the recycle bins will be weighted and the amounts credited to your account if you have signed up for the rewards program.  Just activating your account gets you 40 points to start with.

If you are not currently recycling, I think you will be amazed at how much comes in with paper and cans and newspapers and plastics that can be recycled.  That means a lot of stuff NOT going into a landfill, so we all benefit - along with future generations.  Being good stewards of the planet is just the right thing to do.  Reduce - Reuse - Recycle !


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Voting Location Changes

For voters in Woodvale, our voting location will change for the next election to be held on the first Tuesday in June.  The new location is the recently opened Helena community center (see pictures of opening in post below) just off Alabama 261.  Our previous polling place was Helena United Methodist Church.  The Shelby County Commission voted at their meeting last night to make the change since the new community center offers more space.  This will help especially in major elections with added parking and plenty of space for voters.

I'm fairly confident that voters will be notified of this change before the next election.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Helena Civic Center Open House

This afternoon was the open house for the new civic center for Helena at the park just off 261/Helena Road/Valleydale Road.  I captured a few pictures of the event.

Mayor and City Council along with city officials cut the ribbon
opening the new civic center.

Entrance to the new civic center which opened January 24, 2010.

Meeting rooms, basketball court, full kitchen, walking track, class rooms, a wonderful facility
for people in Helena to use.

Congratulations to Mayor Penhale and the Helena City Council on bringing this fabulous facility to our wonderful community.  You can also read about the open house in a story by the Shelby County Reporter which can be found here.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Doughnut Sale January 23rd

Don't forget the big doughnut sale tomorrow, Saturday, January 23rd, in Helena.  The sale will take place at Winn Dixie, Walgreen, and CVS in support of the family of the Pelham Police Officer who was killed in the life of Duty.  The sale is sponsored by the Helena Police Department and they will be out there until they sell all the doughnuts.

Each dozen will be sold for $5.00 and I have heard that they have 500 dozen to sell.

So as you head out on any Saturday errands, stop by one of the sales locations and help a good cause and get some great doughnuts.  I understand that the police have arrested all the calories from these doughnuts, so you have no diet worries.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Let the Recycling Begin!

January 13th was a momentous day for Helena and Woodvale - our recycling program was begun!  Here are several pictures of the event.

Allied Waste truck making the rounds through Woodvale.

Truck stopping to grab a 95-gallon recycling bin.

The bin goes UP and the stuff goes IN the truck!

A quick drive through the neighborhood revealed two house in Augusta Pointe and four in Woodvale who are  participating in the recycling program.  I know the program costs something, but this really is the right thing to do to reduce what we put into landfills and at the same time promote materials that can be reused.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quick Helena Notes

You should be seeing the Helena Newsletter in your mailbox today or tomorrow.  I saw one at City Hall Monday, and Dearing Downs' sewer lines will be receiving plastic linings this month.  Also, the grand opening of the Sports Complex facility has been set for January 24th, 2 to 5 pm.

While we don't have a newspaper in Helena, our full-color newsletter is like a magazine for Helena.  I always read it from cover to cover when it arrives.  The latest issue is a full 32 pages with lots of stories and lots of ads from local businesses.  Remember to Shop Helena when you can so we keep our tax dollars in our town!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Dog Licenses / Recycling News

Dog Licenses

If you plan on stopping by City Hall for your dog license, you can hold off for about two weeks.  I went by this afternoon to make sure my dog was legal, but I found out the new tags have not yet arrived.  In an attempt to be a little more economical with the $1 license fee, the city is going to numbered tags without a year stamp.  This will allow you to have the one tag and get a renewal each year.  I'm told that Helena has the lowest dog license fee in the area.

Tags should be in around January 20th.

Recycling Update

While at City Hall for the license, I asked how the recycling signup is going.  No exact numbers were available but the information they had was that about 300 households have signed up.  I sure hope more folks will get in on this so we can reduce the stress on landfills.  There is information about the program on the City of Helena web site which can be found in the links list to the left.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold Weather Hanging Tough

Central Alabama is currently in the grip of a significant cold spell that everyone needs to take seriously.  In addition to the cold air, there is a threat for snow from Thursday afternoon, January 7, Friday morning, January 8.  Snow forecasting is notoriously tough in the Southeast US simply because the recipe for wintery weather is so precise.  However, the cold air in place now is not expected to change substantially over the next week resulting in the right scenario for a winter weather event toward the end of the week.

If you have exposed pipes, be sure to wrap them well.  Pets normally left outside should be properly cared for in the frigid weather.  Bundle kids up well when they head outside to play.  And if you have elderly friends or relatives, it's a good idea to check on them to be sure their heat is operating properly.  Cold can be a killer.