Archives for June 2015

Demopolis BOE fills positions, alters ACCESS Lab requirements

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education will amend the posting for the high school ACCESS Lab vacancy following a vote during a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“All of us are very concerned about the success of students and providing the best learning atmosphere as we can,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo told the board before making his recommendation to alter the posting to require a certified teacher in the position. “Currently the state department allows this position to be filled by a facilitator. Currently, the position of facilitator does not require the board to employ a certified teacher. However, in looking at student success and providing the best ability for student interaction – I’m not saying to you that there is not a person who would be able to step into that role who is not a certified teacher.”

Costanzo maintained that a facilitator is inherently limited in classroom management as well as at providing remediation and researching and relaying course information. Costanzo reminded the board there would be increased cost with making such a change as the position would move from a salary schedule equivalent to that of an aide to one equivalent with a certified structure.

The board unanimously voted to make the move. The posting is expected to be effective Wednesday.

The board also discussed exploring the acquisition of a facility designed to house career technical education programs.

“In some of our discussions, we have talked about acquiring a facility at some point, should the board feel like that is the way to go,” Costanzo said. “I did meet with Mayor Grayson last week in discussion about the New Era Building. I wanted to discuss with you to say to you that it would be something that would need to be revisited and looked at very closely. I would have loved as a superintendent to have had a facility that would have been able to provide the students a safe place to house instructional need in those areas. My concern would be, should the board invest in that building, what would happen if the city later needed it for new industry?”

Costanzo stated his belief that acquiring such a facility may place facility at the forefront of educational opportunities among Alabama public schools in terms of career tech opportunities.

“It could put us on the cutting edge, in my opinion, of all school systems in Alabama. I think it is worth investigating,” Costanzo said.

The board also voted to hire a construction manager to assess and complete the maintenance needs on the system’s four campuses. Costanzo noted the biggest of those needs includes painting, lock hardware, pressure washing and restroom repairs.

Additionally, the board voted to make Friday, July 3 a system holiday in view of Independence Day being Saturday.

Personnel moves approved during the meeting include:

  • Resignation of Rodney Jackson as Demopolis High School health teacher, varsity basketball coach and varsity football assistant
  • Transfer of Addy Card from second grade teacher at Westside Elementary School to fifth grade teacher at U.S. Jones Elementary School effective Aug. 10 where she will replace Stephen Campbell
  • Transfer of Allison Cobb from seventh to eighth grade Science Teacher at Demopolis Middle School to seventh to eighth grade English/Language Arts Teacher at Demopolis Middle School effective Aug. 10 where she will replace Coty Geohagan
  • Non-renewal of Alan Kasper as ninth to 12th grade Science Teacher at Demopolis High School
  • Non-renewal of Carol Halkias as ninth to 12th grade Spanish Teacher at Demopolis High School
  • Conditional employment of Patricia Moore as second grade teacher at Westside Elementary School
  • Conditional employment of Sarah Chelsea Morgan as Kindergarten Teacher at Westside Elementary School
  • Conditional employment of Sam Mosley as P.E. Teacher at Westside Elementary School
  • Conditional employment of Whitney Mosley as third grade teacher at U.S. Jones Elementary School
  • Conditional employment of Drew Luker as seventh grade Social Sciences Teacher at Demopolis Middle School effective Aug. 10
  • Conditional employment of Kelly Gandy as ninth to 12th grade Career Tech/Technical Education teacher at Demopolis High School
  • Hiring of Angela Richardson as lunchroom worker at Demopolis High School
  • Hiring of Kathaleen Anderson as Demopolis High School ACCESS Lab Facilitator for Summer School 2015 only
  • Hiring of Shelby Speegle as Demopolis High School ACCESS Lab Facilitator for first session of Summer School 2015 only

During a superintendent search work session following Tuesday’s meeting, the board established its timeline for hiring a new system leader. The board will hold its regularly-scheduled meeting July 14 at 5:15 p.m. at which time it will receive the list of five finalists from the Alabama Association of School Boards.

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education will conduct interviews with the five superintendent finalists July 20-24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Rooster Hall.

Stewart Gwin acquires share of West Alabama Watchman, LLC

Stewart Gwin has purchased a share of West Alabama Watchman, LLC, the organization’s Managing Partners have announced.

Gwin will assume Danny Smith’s ownership share of The Watchman, effective July 1. Smith is relocating to Tupelo, Miss., to pursue a new career opportunity.

Stewart Gwin

Stewart Gwin

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Gwin, a 2007 graduate of Demopolis High School who earned his Master’s Degree in Biotechnology from UAB, will work with Watchman Managing Partners Michael Clements and Jeremy D. Smith, who along with Danny Smith founded The Watchman in August, 2012. Gwin has seven years’ journalism experience in various roles.

“Demopolis helped to raise me for 19 years, and I am excited to have the opportunity to again work with so many of the great folks in the local community,” said Gwin. “I also appreciate Danny, Michael, and Jeremy allowing me the opportunity to join such a great organization, and I wish Danny the best in his future endeavors in Tupelo.

“I have seen the Watchman’s impact in the local community grow over the past couple of years, and it’s easy to recognize a great product when you see one,” Gwin continued. “From its digital presence to its incredible print publications, the Watchman has filled a niche that I feel Marengo County has always needed. Speaking of print publications, RedZone, our preseason football magazine is due out in August and this year’s RedZone looks to be our best yet.”

Danny Smith

Danny Smith

Danny Smith called Gwin’s acquisition “a win-win in the truest sense. It is a great opportunity for Stewart, and also for Michael and Jeremy to work with a partner who is versatile, energetic and highly talented. The big winner is the community we serve, which will continue to receive the quality coverage it deserves from an experienced home-owned organization dedicated to its betterment.”

Clements and Jeremy Smith, in a joint statement, said the transition will be virtually seamless to readers and advertisers. “Stewart’s business experience, his love for this area and his understanding of community journalism is a perfect match for The Watchman and its mission to serve our area,” the statement said. “We wish Danny the very best and thank him for his contributions. At the same time, we are ready to step into the future with a Watchman team that is as strong as ever.”

Danny Smith thanked the community for its support. “I can’t tell our readers how wonderful it has been to be a part of The Watchman for the past three years,” he said. “It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career, and Michael, Jeremy and most of all our readers and advertisers have made that experience possible. I am deeply grateful.”

Gwin said The Watchman “has become a go-to source for news in the local community, and I look forward to working with Michael and Jeremy as we continue our commitment to local news and sports in Demopolis and the surrounding region.”

Photo of the Day

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After a diving stop, Demopolis 10U all-star second baseman Jacob Davis gathers to throw out a runner.

Annie Laura Williamson

Annie Laura Williamson age 77 of Thomasville, AL died June 29, 2015 at Thomasville Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center. She was born August 9, 1937 in Sunny South, AL. She was a retired office manager and secretary with Solomon Brothers Manfacturing and Hilton Shirts Manufacturing, she was also a member of Sunny South Baptist Church. She is survived by two brothers, Toby (Marilyn) Williamson of Pine Hill, AL; and Robert Edward (Betty Ann) Williamson of Thomasville, AL; two special friends, Frankie Hill and Tipsy Tyler. She was preceded in death by her parents, Tobe Lee Williamson and Frances Averitt Williamson, two sisters, Annie Marshall Hendricks and Jimmie Elsie Williamson. Visitation will be held at Sunny South Baptist Church on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 11:00 AM with Rev. Denny Couturie officiating. Burial will be in the Sunny South Baptist Church Cemetery in Sunny South 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.

Photo of the Day

POTD Fuqua baseball-4098

Coleman Fuqua fires a pitch to the plate during the Demopolis 10U All-stars game against Covington County on Sunday morning.

Demopolis won both their games Sunday and will play again Monday at 1PM and 7PM.

Essie Williams

Mrs. Essie Spelman Williams, age 87, the beloved wife of Rev. Lonnie Williams of Demopolis, Alabama entered into eternal rest June 26,2015 in Compton, California. Funeral services for Mrs. Essie Spelman Williams are incomplete and will be announced at a later date. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

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

Barbara Williams Vick

Barbara Larrimore Williams Vick age 91 of Grove Hill, AL died June 27, 2015 at Jackson Medical Center. She was born November 16, 1923 in Chance, AL. She was a member of Tompkins Baptist Church. She is survived by five sons, Cecil Clyde Williams, Willie Richard Williams, Chester Earl Williams, James Dwain Williams, and Robert L. Williams; two daughters, Dorothy Mae Williams Finley and Barbara Ann Williams Milstead; brother, Charles Ray Larrimore; two sisters, Sarah Williams Glass and Ann Larrimore Dixon; 18 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and 5 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Willie D. Williams & Richard Cecil Vick; her father, Earl Larrimore and mother, Mamie Bertha Larrimore. Visitation will be held at Tompkins Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 from 12:30 pm until the 2:00 pm service time with Dr. Johnny Kendrick officiating. Burial will be in the Kennedy Cemetery in Chance, AL. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1942, Phone – 800-873-6983. Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

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

Demopolis 10U Baseball (gallery)

Linden Youth Council to sponsor Color Run 5K July 11

The Linden Youth Council would like to invite the community to The Color Run 5K and Summer Splash on Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Summer Splash is free and we welcome everyone in the community to join us for the festivities. If you would like to run in the Color Run, you can register by calling 256-656-2823.

The registration fee will be $12 which includes a souvenir T-shirt.

Linden Youth Council is an organization composed of local high school students from Linden High School and Marengo Academy. As leaders in their schools, the students are working together to become leaders in our community. Amy Hudson, an intern of Auburn University’s Living Democracy program, has organized the Linden Youth Council. Through the Linden Youth Council, students hope to learn leadership skills as we organize two community events, The Color Run 5K and Summer Splash.

Both events will provide a positive environment for developing youth and strengthening families. The goal of these events are to unite the community, instill community pride, and promote wellness.

The Color Run 5k will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, July 11. It will be a fun and colorful way to exercise and socialize with family, friends, and fellow citizens. Organizers know how hot a summer day in lower Alabama can be; therefore the Summer Splash will take place from 11-4 at Forest Hill Baptist Church following the run.

Water activities will be available for all ages to enjoy and cool off. Bring a swimsuit, towel, snack, sunscreen, and a friend for the ultimate community gathering. Hope to see you there!

Photo of the Day

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The Demopolis Police Department is pleased to announce that Officer Walter Wilson, right, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He received his promotion from Chief Tommie Reese on June 26, 2015 and it will be effective June 30, 2015. Congratulations Sergeant Wilson!