Tag Archives: Chelsea

A rally for Ally

Chelsea Middle School student Ally Nelson with her mom, Christina. Eleven-year-old Ally is battling Osteosarcoma. Photo courtesy of Christina Nelson.


Eleven-year-old Ally Nelson’s fight began with a limp noticed by her mother, Christina, in March. Ally said it didn’t bother her too bad, but by the time the family went out of town for spring break, the pain in her thigh was no longer something to be ignored.

The original diagnosis based on her x-rays was tendonitis, and the Nelsons were advised to give her ibuprofen and to stretch out her leg for three weeks. After a week and a half, Ally’s limp grew worse. Her mom noticed she had lost muscle mass in her left thigh and now had swelling. Continue reading


Chelsea’s own Mrs. USA contestant

Mrs. Alabama United States of America Ashley Bentley lives in Chelsea. Photo courtesy of Frank Carnaggio.


Mrs. Alabama United States of America 2012 Ashley Bentley hasn’t been involved with pageants for her entire life. In fact, she only started a year ago.

“I was pregnant with my second child, and I wanted to make sure that I lived my life to give the best example. I wanted to do more and be more for them,” Bentley said.
Going into the pageant world for the first time, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I was happy to find out it wasn’t about a pretty face. It was a good bonding experience with other mothers who wanted to be a good role model,” Bentley said.

A native of Nashville and graduate of the University of Mississippi, Bentley moved to Birmingham after graduation to work at the Hershey Company. Twelve years later, she is the wife of Chris Bentley, owner of Bentley Flooring, and mother to two girls, Brooke, 5, and Brayden, 2. Continue reading

People you should know: Earl Niven, Chelsea Mayor

Chelsea mayor Earl Niven outside City Hall. Photo by Kathryn Acree.


Ask any long-time resident (or short-time resident for that matter) about the people who worked to make Chelsea the bustling small city it is today, and the name Earl Niven will quickly enter the conversation.
Mayor since the city officially incorporated in March 1996, Earl Niven is a lifelong Chelsea resident with roots that run deep. 280 Living sat down with Niven recently to discuss all things Chelsea, past, present and future.

Tell us about growing up in this area.
Home for me was down County Road 335. I was one of eight children, and we did a little farming and had a little garden for our family. My father worked for U.S. Steel in Birmingham, and I was always involved in athletics growing up. I went to Chelsea Elementary and Junior High then Shelby County High School and on to college at Montevallo.

I was the first senior high math teacher at Chelsea High School when it opened, then I went to work for Alabama Power for 28 years. In 1996 I was elected mayor, so I took an “early out” from Alabama Power in 1998 to work as mayor full-time.

How did Chelsea get its name?
This area was originally called Melrose until a train depot was built here in about 1906. There was already a depot named Melrose, and there are many stories about how the name was chosen. The railroad renamed the depot Chelsea, and we have been known as Chelsea since that time. Continue reading

Restaurant Showcase: Food Studio B

Sandwiches like the Cubano Monday special at Food Studio B in Chelsea are served on house-made bread with a salad of seasonal vegetables and your choice of house-made dressings. Photos by Madoline Markham.

Food Studio B owner and chef Sean Butler carves a teres major cut of beef for a paleo meal from their new Chelsea location.

Sean Butler is carving meat amidst shelves of dried fruit, nuts and labels for his snack food lines when I walk into Food Studio B to interview him.

Butler speaks fast, rattling off the farmers he knows and how they fit into his vision for the new space. A man from Rora Farms in Coosa County walks in to deliver eggs. Butler points out his one and only shelf of dried goods. His focus is obvious: Make food from scratch and foster community.

“We want to sit down with our customers and get to know them,” said Butler, who has lived in Chelsea since 2006.

The café, located in the former Chelsea Café location behind the BP on Highway 280, had a soft opening in March and is now serving salads, sandwiches, soups and specials daily—as well as homemade desserts—on weekdays.

Lunch and breakfast are only the start of Butler’s vision for the storefront to be a market, bakery and café.

“We want to be a one stop shop for all things food,” he said.

Continue reading

Helicopter egg drops to kick off Easter


More helicopter egg drops are planned in the 280 area for the upcoming Easter weekend. This photo is from Vandiver Church of God’s Great Egg Drop. Photo courtesy of Tina Howard.

Who says an Easter egg hunt can’t be egg-citing anymore? Egg drops from helicopters abound in the 280 area for this Easter season.

Tina Howard from Vandiver Church of God sent us some photos of her church’s first annual Great Egg Drop this past weekend and said it was a great success with over 1,000 visitors!

More helicopter egg drops are planned in our area:

Chelsea Community Church

Chelsea Community Church plans an egg drop for the kids as part of their 10 a.m. Easter service this Sunday, April 8 at Chelsea Middle School’s stadium. For more information, go to www.chelseacc.com or call 678-9565.

Christian Life Church, Inverness Vineyard Church, Christ City Church

Thousands of candy-filled eggs will be dropped from a helicopter at Veterans Park on Valleydale Road on Saturday, April 7. There will be inflatables, worship bands, stage games, prizes and more. The event runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Christian Life Church, Inverness Vineyard Church and Christ City Church are partnering to plan the event.

Coffee with the Chelsea Mayor on March 15

The City of Chelsea and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce are hosting a “Coffee with the Mayor” on March 15.  Join Earl Niven, Mayor of Chelsea at 8 a.m. at the Chelsea City Hall for coffee and breakfast refreshments. The event is open to everyone, is free of charge and is a great way to hear local information about your own community or visit your neighboring communities.

The Coffee with the Mayor is a great opportunity to network with local business, civic, and elected leaders in the individual communities highlighting local businesses and community events.  The Chelsea City Hall is located at 11611 Chelsea Road Chelsea.

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce host coffee’s all the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce regional communities. The dates for the others can be found on our website at www.southshelbychamber.com.

For more information call 205-669-9075 or 205-678-8455 and visit http://www.southshelbychamer.com.

New Chelsea History Museum shares stories, seeks more items

Bob Wanninger and Juanita Champion look through a donated scrapbook in the new Chelsea History Museum located in Chelsea City Hall. Photo by Kathryn Acree.


Chelsea officially became a city in 1996, and its long-time residents had stories and artifacts to share of the once sleepy community. Likewise, city councilmember Juanita Champion and former city clerk Bob Wanninger felt Chelsea needed a museum to tell its story.

“We first started talking about it about six years ago,” said Champion. “We had designs on the Crane House when the City bought it.  That became the library so we’re opening the museum in the former library location in City Hall.” Continue reading