North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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December 27, 2012

Year in review: A look at north Jefferson County in 2012



• Jan. 24: Fultondale junior quarterback/free safety ArDarius Stewart is named Class 2A Back of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, and places fourth in the balloting for “Mr. Football,” the top prep player in the state.

• Feb. 28: Mortimer Jordan loses to Athens in the Class 5A boys basketball regional at Wallace State-Hanceville. It’s the first time the Blue Devils have reached the regionals since that playoff format was introduced in the 1990s.

• April 20: Brent Smith resigns from his second stint as head football coach at Corner. He is later replaced by Zac Willis.

• May 18: Mortimer Jordan ends an improbable run to the AHSAA Class 5A state championship game, losing to Chelsea. It was the sixth straight trip to the final game for the Blue Devils, winning three.

• Sept. 5: Josh Roberts of Morris is in London competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games. He has qualified to race in the men’s 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter races.

• Oct. 10: The nationally-known Warrior Dash brings more than 8,400 runners to north Jefferson. The race was hosted at The Hitchin Post in Kimberly.

• Nov. 15: After resigning as head boys basketball coach at Hayden, Mike Dutton turns up again — as a volunteer assistant to Lynn Elkins at Mortimer Jordan.

• Nov. 21: Hayden head football coach Steven Kerby resigns after a disappointing 2-8 season. Kerby coached the Wildcats for four seasons.

• Nov. 24: Fultondale loses to eventual Class 2A state champion Tanner 14-0 in the quarterfinals of the AHSAA playoffs. It’s the second year that the Wildcats reached the third playoff round.


• Jan. 11: Hunter Alexander, 9, of Smokerise, is receiving a tremendous amount of community support as he battles for his life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. The community is devastated later, in August, when Hunter dies.

• Jan. 25: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley makes an appearance in north Jefferson County as the guest speaker for the Greater Gardendale Chamber of Commerce banquet.

• March 21: The American Rosie the Riveter Association, whose vice president, Mabel Myrick, lives in Kimberly, is seeking new members nationwide who filled industrial, farm and other slots while most able-bodied men were fighting in World War II.

• April 4: Jo Griffin, owner of The Little School in Gardendale, is honored by Woodmen of the World for more than 50 years of service as a teacher.

• April 4: Maj. Ross Cline of the Alabama National Guard surprises his daughters at North Jefferson Middle and Mt. Olive Elementary schools. He has been serving in Afghanistan for a year.

• April 25: A year after a devastating tornado ripped through Fultondale and surrounding cities on April 27, 2011, the community reflects and remembers.

• April 25: The city of Fultondale opens Fire Station No. 2 on Walker Chapel Road. It is the third fire station in the city, and the first one on the west side of Interstate 65.

• May 2: Gardendale temporarily closes a portion of Phillips Drive in an attempt to decrease traffic and other construction while the new Dollar General is being built. Residents in the area are lodging numerous complaints about traffic and safety concerns.

• May. 9: The annual Gardendale Magnolia Festival is a huge hit, drawing about 25,000 people into the city, according to organizers.

• May 23: The annual North Jefferson Relay For Life raises $45,000 for the American Cancer Society; the goal was $40,000.

• June 20: A Civil War Confederate soldier, Arthur Malone Belcher, buried at the Friendship Cemetery in Gardendale, receives a grave marker 148 years after his death. The marker is revealed during a ceremony sponsored by the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Cpt. Mortimer Jordan Camp No. 84.

• June 27: The New Castle community is finally getting a park, thanks in large part to resident Shirley Godwin, who has lobbied the city of Gardendale for a park to be built there ever since the community was annexed into the city during the administration of former mayor William Noble.

• July 4: West Blount County kicks off its own chamber of commerce, which 60 businesses and individuals joined even before the first official meeting.

• Aug. 1: The American Legion facility in Fultondale, reportedly the city’s oldest building, is demolished. It was heavily damaged during the April 27, 2011, tornado. The post is moving to New Castle Road.

• Aug. 29: The city of Gardendale breaks ground on the future city center, which will house city hall, restaurants, retail space, a hotel and movie theater, according to city officials.

• Oct. 31: Blount County residents say their names were fraudulently added to a petition that supports legalizing the sale of alcohol in Blount County.

• Oct. 31: St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church hosts its annual food festival. The authentic Russian fare is prepared by hand by members of the church, and the festival draws people from throughout Alabama and from surrounding states.

• Dec. 5: Pvt. Hunter Stanley arrives home from U.S. Army training, to see his son for the first time. Brayden is 3 months old. The next week, the family — Hunter Stanley, Ashlyn Stephens and Brayden Stanley — is in a car accident in Cullman County. Brayden is having brain surgery to relieve the pressure.

• Dec. 12: Church 29:11 of Mt. Olive is considering a move to the former IGA grocery store in Kimberly, which has been closed for two years.

• Dec. 19: Schools and law enforcement react to the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., by installing officers and deputies in schools throughout Jefferson County. Twenty-seven people, including the gunman, were killed; 20 of them were children.

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