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Thompson High School teacher Brian Copes (left) shakes hands with Commissioner Elwyn Bearden (right) during the Feb. 27 Shelby County Commission meeting.
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Shelby County Coroner Diana S. New speaks at the Feb. 27 Shelby County Commission meeting.
The Shelby County Commission took time at its Feb. 27 meeting to recognize a local teacher who has received international recognition for his efforts.
The commission recognized Thompson High School engineering teacher Brian Copes, who formerly taught in Chelsea and Calera and has been recognized by the global not-for-profit organization Varkey Foundation. The Varkey Foundation aims to seek out extraordinary teachers from around the world, and it recognized Copes as one of 50 Global Teacher Finalists. He was only one of five finalists from the U.S.
Copes has guided students as they developed prosthetic legs and arms, aquatic wheelchairs, a full-size electric car and other engineering projects as well as founded SKY (Skilled Knowledgeable Youth), a nonprofit that spreads STEM education around the world, and accomplished several other feats which the commission recognized.
“We, the Shelby County Commission, do hereby recognize and congratulate Mr. Brian Copes for his positive impact that he is making with the students of Thompson High School, his global outreach and community service and being selected one of the Varkey Foundation’s Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalist,” Commissioner Elwyn Bearden read from a proclamation.
The commission voted and unanimously approved the proclamation recognizing Copes’ accomplishments.
“It is an honor reading this out,” Bearden said. “It’s amazing what you have done. If I had a hat, I’d take it off to you, Brian.”
The commission also approved an ADECA (Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs) grant application for the Shelby County Coroner’s office. If approved, the Shelby County Coroner would receive $110,000 for the purpose of receiving accreditation in the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.
“This grant will allow more education and training, [and] prestige of being the first county in the state of Alabama having this kind of certifications,” said Coroner Diana S. New. “… We need more money for education and training, we need supplies, just things like that, and this takes a little bit off the county. Actually it takes a lot off the county.”
Chief Deputy Coroner Lina Evans said this would allow the county to achieve a national standard and national accreditation.
“This just elevates us. That’s the main goal here,” Evans said.
Also at the meeting, the commission:
- Announced April 1 and Oct. 7 as free days at the county landfill. It is limited to residential household debris and trucks that are one ton or less.
- Approved bids for highway fleet services, general government and facilities and general services.
- Received updates on ongoing projects from County Manager Alex Dudchock. Dudchock said an addition and renovation to the Oak Mountain State Park BMX Track will increase the track from 900 feet to 1,100 feet, pave the curves and provide lighting to the track, which will permit nighttime events. He also updated the commission on two new enclosures at the Alabama Wildlife Center — one for a Eurasian Eagle-Owl and the other for Bald Eagles — set to be complete this fiscal year. He also discussed the construction of Cahaba Public Shooting Ranges in Helena.