Archives for June 2016

Songwriter’s Festival Is Better Than The Price Of Admission

We’re quickly closing in on another Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival in Demopolis. This year’s event will return to its usual venue, the Public Square in downtown Demopolis, on Saturday, July 2nd and will begin at 6pm.

Shawn Pfaffman

Demopolis native Shawn Pfaffman is scheduled to return for the 2016 Songwriter’s Festival in Demopolis.

While I don’t spend a lot of time going to music venues, I do enjoy music of many different types – some more and some less than others. That said, I really do enjoy the scene and atmosphere of the Songwriter’s Festival.

The atmosphere is top notch. There are no rabid fans and there’s no pushing and shoving to get the best view. People of all ages, from babies to great-great grandpaw, are scattered all over the park, in lawn chairs, on blankets and on the ground. Even some family dogs get to tag along for the evening. It always feels laid back and everyone seems to be chilled and ready for some stress-free entertainment.

Another thing that I enjoy is the fact that the singers/songwriters are accessible to everyone. There are no hulking bodyguards keeping people at a safe distance. It’s easy to walk up, introduce yourself and chat with the singers/songwriters. One of the highlights of the events that I have photographed is getting to talk at length with Rick Asherson. Rick is married to Debbie Bond, who is one of the top blues singers in Alabama. I’ve always been interested in people who “don’t sound like they are from here” and Rick had a British accent. So, I got to have a conversation with Rick about how he ended up in Alabama.

Alan Hartzell

Alan Hartzell, a Linden native, is scheduled to return for the 2016 Songwriter’s Festival in Demopolis.

Additionally, there are the former residents that many of us grew up with, grew up with their parents or a combination of both. It’s always great to get to hear the Alan Hartzells, Shawn Pfaffmans and Mel Knapps of the music business and get to talk with them and hear about where life and music has taken them.

I know those are just my personal feelings about the Songwriter’s Festival, but I believe that they are good enough reasons to make an effort to come out and enjoy some of what Demopolis has to offer – even on a possibly warm, humid summer afternoon. And, hey, the price of admission isn’t too bad either!

BOE accepts resignations from band director, assistant principal

In a called meeting Thursday afternoon, the Demopolis City Board of Education accepted the resignation of three employees, approved conditional employment for five, agreed to advertise for five positions and approved a two-month contract for technology services.

Matthew Fields, band director for Demopolis High and Demopolis Middle schools, resigned effective June 28. His interim 30-day replacement is Jillian Arthur. Eugena Williams will replace Carrie Jackson as math teacher at DMS, and Adam Sealy, DHS assistant principal, is resigning as of July 26.

LeeAnn Stroud is replacing Rubye McKinley as DMS special education teacher; Carly Turner will be the DMS social studies teacher replacing Jeremy Silcox, and Jeffery Anderson will be the special education paraprofessional at DHS, replacing Martell Jones.

Cory McCormick has a 60-day contract to provide technical services for the school system at $20 an hour, not to exceed 30 hours a week.

Olivia Castillo was approved as a substitute teacher, and Della Hawkins was removed from the substitute roster.

The board agreed to advertise for an ACCESS Lab Paraprofessional at DHS, a paraprofessional for the gifted program in grades 4-6, a band director and an assistant principal for DHS.

In addition the school system is advertising for a K-5 Instructional Coach for one year. The two positions for reading coaches were eliminated in May because of a shortfall in state funding. Supt. Kyle Kallhoff said the Title I allocation for the 2016-2017 school year was tripled, making it possible to bring back one of the two coach positions that had been eliminated in May. He said there is no guarantee money will be available for the next year.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be July 18 at 5:15 p.m.

Demopolis teacher on administrative leave following arrest

Demopolis Middle School teacher and basketball coach Jesse Bell is on paid administrative leave following his arrest in Sumter County.

“I have not received any facts behind the allegations yet, but when I do, we’ll make a decision from that point on,” Demopolis Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “Any time I put someone on paid administrative leave, I’ve got to submit that to the state and they will conduct their own investigation. So it is out of this board’s hands. I don’t know the time frame on that.”

Bell, who is the owner of the Oak Tree Lounge in Coatopa, was arrested Tuesday, June 21 and charged with violating anti-obscenity laws stemming from incidents at his establishment. The ALEA confirmed that the arrest is in conjunction with violation of Alabama Anti-Obscenity Act and marijuana possession.

Charges against Bell include Possession of Marijuana Second Degree as well as a Class C felony for allowing nude dancing to take place within the lounge.

The 17th Judicial Task Force combined with the Alabama Beverage Control Board to assist the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in the arrest. Bell’s booking took place at Johnny L. Hatter Detention Center in Livingston. His bond was set at $10,000.

Bell, a physical education teacher at DMS, has been a teacher and coach at Demopolis City Schools since Aug. 1993.

 

Photo of the Day

(L-R) Stephen Barkley, William Barkley and Dalton Holtzclaw enjoy a late afternoon tube ride on the Tombigbee River.

Stephen Barkley, William Barkley and Dalton Holtzclaw enjoy a late afternoon tube ride on the Tombigbee River.

Freedom On The River 2016

FOTR 2016

Highway 80 Songwriter’s Festival 2016

Songwriters Festival Demopolis 2016

Linden Arrest Reports: June 29, 2016

June 26 – Marlon L. Adams, 26, Disorderly Conduct

Three UWA programs receive national top rankings for affordability

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—The University of West Alabama adds to its national rankings three new designations for programs offered through UWA Online. The value rankings reflect affordability, distinction, accommodation, and several other factors.

M.S. in Experimental Psychology – Top 10 Most Affordable
UWA’s master of science in experimental psychology, offered online by the College of Liberal Arts, is ranked fourth among the top 10 most affordable online master’s for 2016. The ranking edges out Harvard University’s same-name degree. UWA’s offering can be completed almost entirely online and allows students to gain practical and hands-on experience in the field of clinical psychology through both a practicum and internship experience.

For the degree, students have the option of completing either a thesis or taking a comprehensive examination to meet graduation requirements. The program can be completed in 39-54 credit hours, depending on the student’s needs. There are two start dates for each school year.

Courses that lead to degree completion include personality assessment, marriage and family therapy, the therapeutic relationship, health and psychology, and also psychopharmacology.

B.B.A. in Accounting – Top 20 Most Affordable
The bachelor of business administration in accounting, offered online by UWA’s College of
Business and Technology, has just been named among the most affordable of its kind by AffordableSchools.net. The top 20 ranking centers its focus on unique and affordable academic programs.

The ranking cites Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for expected job growth figures for accounting-related occupations, which suggests that the field may be a little higher than the national average at 11 percent.

The ranking’s lead researcher points out that virtually every business will need an accountant at some point, whether for keeping a general ledger, tax filing, managing payroll, tax law compliance, budgeting, or other reasons.

The listing was compiled with data from NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), a bureau of the U.S. Dept. of Education. Considerations included data filters like increasing average annual net price.

M.Ed. in School Counseling– Top 10 Most Affordable
The master of education in school counseling, offered online by UWA’s Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education, is recognized by Best College Values’ school counseling and educational psychology ranking.

UWA is highlighted among the schools offering programs that “strike a balance between reasonable tuition rates and a high return on investment.” The ranking’s researchers point to the objective benefits of pursuing an advanced degree, which include higher salary, expanded career opportunities, and professional competence, suggesting that this graduate program offered

The University of West Alabama adds to its national rankings recognition that reflects affordability, distinction, accommodation, and several other factors. UWA’s master of science in experimental psychology, offered online by the College of Liberal Arts, is ranked fourth among the top 10 most affordable online master’s for 2016.

To learn more about additional degree programs offered by UWA Online, call 877-UWA-1835, or visit online.uwa.edu to connect with an online advisor.

First Presbyterian holds VBS

First Presbyterian Church, Demopolis held VBS June 20th through the 24th. The theme for this year’s Vacation Bible School was “The Disciples Distinctives.” Students and teachers studied the scriptures to reveal characteristics that accurately describe the disciples of Jesus. They found that disciples of Jesus are called, confronted, changed, committed, and commissioned.

Each day children enjoyed studying these Bible truths, memorizing scriptures, learning songs, seeing puppet skits, playing outdoors during recreation time, eating delicious, healthy snacks, and creating fun crafts. We had a daily high attendance of 59 with an average attendance of 47. More than 24 adults and teens volunteered to help out throughout the week. Each day an offering was received to help pay tuition for students who attend Isaiah 55 Ministries School in Reynosa, Mexico. Isaiah 55 Ministries is a Christian school that ministers specifically to deaf children. A total offering of more than $700 was received during the week.

VBS students send a sign language message to students of Isaiah 55 Ministries. (Contributed Photo)

VBS students send a sign language message to students of Isaiah 55 Ministries. (Contributed Photo)

 

Kindergarten Class (left to right):  Back row:  Andrea Ward, teacher, Jimmy Mackin, Teacher, Students:  Keundreia Mayhew, Vivi McNutt, Jaihden Jackson, Matthew Thomason, Angel Pruitt, Adrian Seabron, Jack Jackson, Demos Jones;  Front Row:  Cassidy Jones, T.J. Ross, Lily Mackin, Ansley Basinger, Amani Pruitt, Azariah Mack (Contributed Photo)

Kindergarten Class (left to right): Back row: Andrea Ward, teacher, Jimmy Mackin, Teacher, Students: Keundreia Mayhew, Vivi McNutt, Jaihden Jackson, Matthew Thomason, Angel Pruitt, Adrian Seabron, Jack Jackson, Demos Jones; Front Row: Cassidy Jones, T.J. Ross, Lily Mackin, Ansley Basinger, Amani Pruitt, Azariah Mack (Contributed Photo)

 

First and Second Graders, Back Row (left to right):  Joy Mackin, teacher, Isaac Cannon, Nehemiah Howard, Luke Mackin, Carter Bules, Jamyia James  Front row:  Rihanna Hildreth, Brianna Hildreth, Amaria Besteder, Bethany Mize, Mia McNutt, Amy Coburn, Ali Basinger, Morryiah Longmire, Adam Mackin. (Contributed Photo)

First and Second Graders, Back Row (left to right): Joy Mackin, teacher, Isaac Cannon, Nehemiah Howard, Luke Mackin, Carter Bules, Jamyia James Front row: Rihanna Hildreth, Brianna Hildreth, Amaria Besteder, Bethany Mize, Mia McNutt, Amy Coburn, Ali Basinger, Morryiah Longmire, Adam Mackin. (Contributed Photo)

 

Third and Fourth Graders, Back Row (left to right):  Bernice Cork, teacher, Mason James, Trinity McClain, Tyfon Wilson, Indaglio Hunter, Lillian Cannon; Front Row:  Makenna McNutt, Xavier Nora, Olivia Tripp, Michkaylin Walker, Alicia Kell. (Contributed Photo)

Third and Fourth Graders, Back Row (left to right): Bernice Cork, teacher, Mason James, Trinity McClain, Tyfon Wilson, Indaglio Hunter, Lillian Cannon; Front Row: Makenna McNutt, Xavier Nora, Olivia Tripp, Michkaylin Walker, Alicia Kell. (Contributed Photo)

 

Fifth and Sixth Graders: Back Row (left to right): Tionna Wilson, Beth Niehoff, teacher, Dexter Boston, Amaya Burrell, Waleah Worthy;  Front Row: Thaliyah Atkins, Jonathan Cannon, Brayden Bules. (Contributed Photo)

Fifth and Sixth Graders: Back Row (left to right): Tionna Wilson, Beth Niehoff, teacher, Dexter Boston, Amaya Burrell, Waleah Worthy; Front Row: Thaliyah Atkins, Jonathan Cannon, Brayden Bules. (Contributed Photo)

Task Force makes largest marijuana product seizure to date

taskforce_edited

The 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force made four arrests and seized 187 pounds of marijuana product Sunday morning.

The seizure took place near Knoxville in Greene County at approximately 3 a.m. during a traffic stop.

“It’s the biggest marijuana product seizure we’ve made so far,” Clint Sumlin, who has been Commander of the 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force since its 2011 inception, said.

The task force worked in conjunction with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and the University of West Alabama Police Department in the seizure and the arrest of a Birmingham trio that included Aaron George, 20, Darius Cabble, 35, and Jonathan Harris, 41. Also arrested was Kowoski Christian of Clanton.

“Manpower is one of our biggest needs, so we’re very fortunate to have them invested in this effort,” Sumlin said, noting that the UWA Police Department has a full-time agent assigned to the drug task force.

The 17th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force was founded in 2011 by District Attorney Greg Griggers and local law enforcement to combat drugs and violent crime in Marengo, Greene and Sumter counties.