Monday, August 30, 2010

No Sleep in Helena [Alabama] (lifestyle and culture)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: No Sleep in Helena, by Hewy Nosleep


BLOG DESCRIPTION: News and events from the little town of Helena, Alabama. Located next to the Cahaba river in Shelby County.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog is a guy after my own heart. His posts cover everything that happens in his little town, from store closings, to sporting events from elementary to high school, to this and that.

It's a fun read. Every post covers something different about the town. It's also illustrated profusely.

If you like reading about small-town America - and finding out just how much happens in these small towns, this blog is for you.

Sample post:
Champion Plant Winn Postal Zone in Helena
Division Championship
Teresa emailed some exciting news! Two Helena Wildcat football teams will be playing in league championships this Saturday (11/21). Helena’s 80 lb football team (made up of 1st & 2nd graders) will be playing at 9:00 am in their division’s Championship game, and the 120 lb Wildcats (mostly 5th graders) will be playing in theirs at 3:00 pm. This is the first time EVER that Helena has had 2 teams make it to the football Championships! The Championships are being held at Pelham City Park all day on Saturday. Let’s encourage all the Helena fans to come out and support our teams!

Little Italy Fundraiser
From 4pm-9pm the Cahaba Bend Student Ministry will be the servers at Little Italy 2693 Highway 58 in Helena. All tips along with 10% of sales go to help the ministry for all dine-ins and take-outs (no deliveries). So if you dont have dinner plans then give them some help. Here's their menu if you havent been before: 1, 2, and 3

Plant Sale
JP wrote in to say that there is a half off plant sale at Helena Landscape on Hwy 52. It was this weekend but hopefully they will keep it going all week.

What to do about Winn Dixie
First off, I'm sad that we were not able to convince Winn Dixie's Corporate office to keep our store open. I'm also a little miffed that the close-out company, that is selling off Winn Dixie's goods, had raised all the prices before offering the "big" discounts. So 50% is more like 5% off their prices from a couple of months ago. They also are keep a minimum staff. So when I went this weekend, everything was still more expensive than walmart except for a small cooler which I had to wait in line 10 minutes to buy. When I got home, it leaked.... no returns.

Ok, enough belly-aching. How about a cool idea! An official from Shelby County told us about what some ingenious towns in the Carolinas did with their grocery stores closed down. They leased them to the United States Postal Service!

Ding! Our post office is in desperate need of additional space and parking. Why can't we do that here? All the developer would have to do is sub-divide the space and there would never be a parking problem. The other stores would also benefit from the additional traffic that the post office always bring. Maybe they could even expand their operation and provide more jobs for the city! I heard that at the PZ meeting.

Planning the Future
There are a lot of bodies in the Helena government but recently I have been able to sit in with the Helena Planning and Zoning Commission. They are in the middle of creating a long term plan for Helena and the details are fascinating. Since it is still in the planning stage, it would be inappropriate for me to tell everything, since none the plans have been finalized. I will tell more in the future but here are the top 7 interesting things from the last meeting:

1. The planning and zoning board has to make long term strategic plans for the future locations of Fire stations, schools, parks, community centers and roads based on population trends. They also write regulations about signs, parking lots, roads, sidewalks and more. They really involved in every aspect of the city.

2. . Helena's property tax (millage) is smaller than the cities around us. Our rate is "5" whereas Alabaster & Calera is "10" and Pelham is "14".

3. Helena is limited by the ADEM air monitor located off Hwy 261. This monitor has an impact on the entire county so Helena has an obligation to recruit clean air industry.

4. Septic lines cant cross the Cahaba River so all the homes to the west of it use their own septic systems instead of the City's.

5. The Helena Cemetery by City Hall is one of the most affordable cemetery in the area and still has openings.

5. Helena used to have a racetrack for cars over by Roy Drive which had racing every Sunday.

6. Helena has a swamp called the Ruffin Swamp and has several creeks named "Hurricane, Beaverdam, Prairie Brook, Lee Brook and Black Creek. Some of these wetlands could qualify for Federal funds.

7. One map had the 261 Bypass connecting at Hwy-52 at the Hillsboro bypass and shows the walking trail from HMS connecting to Helena Intermediate and Cahaba Lily Park.

You can scroll down to see some photos from the weekend or "friend" me on facebook (I met three friends from facebook this weekend at the Market). If you had a chance to stop by the Helena Farmer's Market then here are the recipes that Jon Gower was using:

Watermelon Pina Colada
Smoked Wings
Congrats to all the people who participated in the Smoke & Gun Poker run. There were also over 150 people at the HMS 5k Panther Prowl.
[Video he filmed of race not included]

--Champion Plant Winn Postal Zone in Helena
--Saturday Events
--Smoke & Gun, Run & Fun, Prowl & Bake, Beads & Cake
--Retro Look
--Myth, Ice and Grads in Helena
Check out the following blogs:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
Rush Limbaugh Report

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