Archives for June 2014

Box turtle – can I keep it?

box_turtle_USFWSBy Chas Moore, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

The box turtle is found throughout the woodlands of Alabama. It is one of the most commonly seen turtles because it is a land turtle. Most turtles are aquatic, meaning they live in rivers, streams, ponds, swamps or lakes. However, like tortoises, box turtles live their entire lives on dry land. They only occasionally soak in mud puddles. Box turtles are usually seen crossing a road, in yards or in woodlots, especially after periods of rain in the summer. In dry periods of the summer, they will excavate under rotting logs or leaf litter only to come out when it rains.

Box turtles are easy to identify, as they are the only turtles native to Alabama that completely enclose their entire bodies inside their shell when alarmed. They have a hinge on their lower plastron (shell) that enables them to do this. This helps keep them safe from predators. The upper shell is shaped like a dome with highly variable colorations of yellow, orange, olive, black, or brown mixed together to form a pattern.

Three different subspecies of box turtles occur in Alabama, but identification of these can be difficult for the novice. The northern half of the state is home to the Eastern box turtle. The three-toed box turtle is primarily found in the southwestern section of Alabama, while the Gulf Coast subspecies lives in the southeastern part of the state. However, their ranges overlap widely.

The three-toed box turtle does not always have three toes on the back feet as the name suggests and other races sometimes only have three toes as well. Only minute variations in the plastron and colorations distinguish the different subspecies. Intergrading among the races often occurs, making identification even more difficult where their ranges overlap. For this reason, we can just refer to them all as “box turtles.”

Since box turtles are found so frequently and are so easy to catch, they are kept as pets more than any other turtle. They also are very easy to care for. They only need some loose dirt for digging in a yard or box and they readily eat a wide variety of foods, including dog food, fruit, berries and raw hamburger meat. Box turtles usually live 30 or 40 years, with a few reaching 100.

In Alabama, you may keep only one as a pet. It is illegal to buy, sell, or trade a box turtle or its parts for anything of value. The best practice is to enjoy them in the wild and appreciate their role in the environment.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit

Photo of the Day: June 30 ,2014

POTD Newton-2808

Riley Newton winds up before a pitch at a softball tournament in Demopolis.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System helping to keep food safe in Marengo County

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 3 thousand deaths and 48 million illnesses are caused by foodborne illnesses in the United States each year, and the majority are caused by the mishandling of food in a restaurant or at home. One case of foodborne illness in an establishment can significantly damage an establishment’s reputation, causing a loss of customers and sales. One way in which the Extension System aims to help keep food safer in Alabama is by offering the ServSafe® certification program in each county across the state.

ServSafe® is a program accredited by the National Restaurant Association and is the industry standard in food safety. The certification course offered through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System teaches restaurant owners and managers about how to prevent foodborne illness, safely store food, safely prepare food, maintain sanitary facilities, and follow food safety regulations and standards. The program is designed specifically for the managers of restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and daycares. The intensive 14-hour course is spread over two consecutive sessions, ending with the certification exam.

Once certified, managers are issued a ServSafe® certificate which can be displayed at their dining establishment. This certification demonstrates concern for consumer food safety, and also fulfills state requirements. Because of changes to the Alabama food code, it is very important to make sure that your foodservice establishment is in compliance with the current laws. In 2010, the Alabama Department of Public Health began requiring foodservice establishments to have at least one person with ServSafe® certification.

Regional Extension Agent, Kristin Woods will be offering the ServSafe® certification course July 23 and 24th at the Marengo County Extension Office in Linden. The cost is $125 and includes the 2 day class, ServSafe® course book, and certification exam. Kristin is a part of a 9 member team of Food Safety, Regional Extension Agents who are certified to teach the course.

For more information about food safety certification, call or email Kristin Woods at 251-753-1164 or Or visit Interested participants should register for class at least 2 weeks prior to the class date.

Anyone desiring to rent the kitchen at the Marengo County Business Center (old National Guard Armory) will need ServSafe training.

Camden man dies in Saturday crash

A single-vehicle crash at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, June 28, claimed the life of a Camden man. The crash occurred on Alabama 41 17 miles north of Camden. Marcus G. Milhouse, 33, was killed when the 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe he was driving left the roadway, struck a tree and overturned. He was not using a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

DPD issues Fourth of July safety tips, city firework ordinance

Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese offers some tips for the  Fourth of July Holiday.

•Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.

•Parents should not allow young children to handle or use fireworks.

•Fireworks should only be used outdoors.

•Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.

•Know your fireworks.  Read the caution label before igniting.

•Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.

•Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.

•Wear safety glasses whenever using fireworks.

•Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

•Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.

•Avoid using homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you!

• Don’t hesitate in calling the fire department if a fire gets started.

•Always remain standing while using sparklers.

•Never hold a child in your arms while using sparklers.

•Never hold, or light, more than one sparkler at a time.

•Never throw sparklers.

•Sparkler wire and stick remain hot long after the flame has gone out.  Be sure to drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

•Teach children not to wave sparklers, or run, while holding sparklers.

And finally Chief Reese asks everyone to be considerate of others when using fireworks in the night time hours.

Sec. 10-4. – Fireworks.


It shall be unlawful for the citizens of this city or any person or corporation engaged in business to sell at retail any fireworks permitted by state law. Proof of permit from the state fire marshal and a business license and permit from the city is required for each stand, trailer or facility from which fireworks sales are permitted as provided in this article.


Common class C fireworks as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation may be sold and discharged within the city limits and police jurisdiction of the city only during the dates and times specified herein.


Beginning June 20 and ending on July 10 and beginning December 15 and ending January 2 of each year.


The time period for the [sale] of fireworks shall be from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight each day during the specified dates, provided that no fireworks are sold between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 8:00 a.m.


The time period for discharging fireworks shall be from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. each day during the specified dates, provided that no fireworks are discharged between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.


Special provisions for New Year’s Eve will apply to the hours of discharging which will be until 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day only.


The city council may grant special permission for fireworks special event displays during any date or time only upon written application for said permit and business license, submitted fifteen (15) days prior to the scheduled date of such event. The granting of such special permit shall be conditioned upon the approval of the city fire department, police department and building official.


Any individual, firm, partnership or corporation that violates any provisions of this article shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisoned for not less than thirty (30) days or both in the discretion of the court.

(Ord. No. 1965-97, § 1, 11-18-65; Code 1975, Ord. No. 35, §§ 1, 2; Ord. No. 2001-3, 8-23-2001

New location, same mission for Bigbee Humane Thrift Store

Kathi Wilson, Jennifer Rookis and Virginia Overstreet

Kathi Wilson, Jennifer Rookis and Virginia Overstreet

Kathi Wilson wants shoppers to know how committed the volunteers are at the Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store.

“We’re always ready to make a deal,” she said.

The Thrift Store may have changed locations, but its purpose remains the same: to raise funds for the care and feeding of the scores of stray dogs picked up in Demopolis.

Because of a loss of lease, in March the store moved almost directly behind its former location on Walnut Street to 119 N. Strawberry, thanks to the generosity of Martha Turner. The space is limited, but another donor, Harold Johnson, offered his warehouse on Sam Street to store large items such as furniture.

New items are posted regularly on the Humane Society’s Facebook page, and traffic has been steady, said Wilson.

Virginia admiring the earrings that Jennifer is trying on.

Virginia admiring the earrings that Jennifer is trying on.

A smaller storefront means the volunteers have adjusted to using space more economically and displaying their items so they can easily be seen. Those items also are priced lower to move faster, Wilson continued.

“Every cent goes for the care of the dogs,” said Virginia Overstreet.

The seven volunteers who work at the store know how important their efforts are. “If we didn’t have the Thrift Store, there wouldn’t be a shelter,” Wilson said.

The store is the main source of income for the Humane Society shelter, which has a weekly food bill alone of $300. The society also pays for veterinarian services, a helper at the shelter that works with other volunteers and transportation for dogs taken to other shelters for adoption.

The no-kill shelter in Demopolis is a partnership with the city to care for the dogs that the Animal Control officer picks up. The shelter can hold 60 animals, and it is always full, said Wilson.

Kathi by the 10-cent table

Kathi by the 10-cent table

The city provides the space for the shelter and pays utilities. The society feeds, houses and treats the sick or injured dogs.

Every adoptive family is checked out before an animal is placed, said Overstreet. Each dog receives a bill of health certifying it has had all the necessary shots and is spayed or neutered.

“People need to spay or neuter their dogs,” Overstreet continued. Responsible pet ownership would go a long way to decrease the number of strays roaming the city.

If the local shelter gets too crowded, the Small Dog Rescue facility in Auburn will take those under 20 pounds. There is a black lab rescue facility in Mississippi that often sends animals to the north where there are more strict animal control laws.

Overstreet and Wilson said the Humane Society has encouraged the city of Demopolis to enact stricter regulation when it comes to spaying and neutering, but so far those efforts haven’t been successful.

The Thrift Store is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday and 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday. Small items to donate can be taken at that time. Delivery of larger items can be arranged by calling Wilson at 334-216-1029 or Overstreet at Colony Office Products, 289-4049.

Contributions to the Bigbee Humane Society may be sent to P.O. Box 474, Demopolis, or through a Pay Pal account.

Willie Scott

Mrs. Willie Mae Scott of Tishabee, Alabama entered into eternal rest June 29,2014 at her residence in Tishabee. Funeral services for Mrs. Willie Mae Scott are incomplete, and will be announced later by Larkin and Scott Funeral Directors of Demopolis, Alabama.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Photo of the Day: June 29, 2014

potd - strollingAshley Faulkner and Madelyn take a Saturday morning stroll in Linden.

Jewel Newton

Jewel Webb Newton age 69 of Thomasville, AL died June 27, 2014 at Jackson Medical Center. She was born September 11, 1944 in Fulton, AL. She was a retired garment manufacturing floor manager and a member of the Liberty Baptist Church. She is survived by: two sons, Phillip Holt Newton of Thomasville, AL: Bruce Wayne Newton of Dickinson, AL; sister, Ann Clark of Grove Hill, AL; brother, William Webb, Sr. of Irvington, AL; five grandchildren, one great grandchild. Visitation will be held at Liberty Baptist Church Sunday, June 29, 2014 from 2:00 pm until the 3:00 pm service time with Rev. Bill Faircloth officiating. Burial will be at Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomasville, AL. Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Amos Tyler

Amos Tyler age 79 of Pine Hill, AL died June 27, 2014 at his home. He was born November 22, 1934 in Pine Hill, AL. He was a commerical fisherman. He is survived by his wife, Tipsey Tyler of Pine Hill, AL; son, Lester Charles Tyler of Pine Hill, AL; daughter, Debbie Kay Tyler (Frank T. Jr.) Finley of Pine Hill, AL; four brothers, Alex Tyler of Selma, AL; Anthony Tyler of Grove Hill, AL; Sammy Tyler of Pine Hill, AL; Julian C. Tyler of Pine Hill; three sisters, Elizabeth Patrick of Pine Hill, AL; Elaine White of Sweet Water, AL; Sue Lassiter of Irvington, AL; two grandchildren, Derrick Quinlon Finley and Kylena Sierra Finley of Pine Hill, AL. Graveside funeral services will be held at Kelly Cemetery in Pine Hill, AL on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 10:00 am. Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.