Archives for May 2017

Linden burst onto map at Class 1A state track meet

Tyroneisha Charleston sits back and relaxes after a day in which she won four medals at the Class 1A state track meet.

The Linden High track team is still riding high off a successful run at the Class 1A state meet earlier this month. The Patriot girls finished fourth out of 31 teams at the meet including five medals as a team.

Sophomore Tyroneisha Charleston starred at the meet, taking home four medals on the day. She took gold in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.57. Charleston also took bronze in the high jump with a mark of 4-10 and bronze in the long jump with a finish of 14-11.75.

The Linden girls 4×100 relay team of Tyroneisha Charleston, Tomysha Boykin, Tameria Aldridge and Jakaria Miller celebrate after winning gold at the Class 1A state track meet.

Charleston also won gold as part of the 4×100 relay team that included Tomysha Boykin, Tameria Aldridge and Jakaria Miller. The team had a time of 51.48 seconds, more than a second ahead of the silver medalists.

The Linden girls also won gold in the 4×400 relay team with a squad that included Aldridge, Boykin, Miller and Jakaria Miller who finished with a time of 4:23.04.

The Linden boys finished fourth out of 26 teams with a performance that included medals in three events Charles Blackmon took silver in the 110 meter hurdles. Kevin Green finished second in the long jump. Roderick Dansby, Jaevius Smith, Blackmon and Green combined to win gold in the 4×100.


Demopolis Class of 2017 Honor Line

The Demopolis High School Class of 2017 Honor Line consists of Katherine Floyd, Baleigh Holtzclaw, Chelsea Monroe, Cheyenne Martin(Salutatorian), Julia Veres, Clayton McVay, Roderick Anderson, Courtney Smith, Abigail Latham, Anna Lonergan, Hunter Compton, R.J. Cox, Summer Earle, Mary F. Brown, Trezha Ruiz, Allison Polk, Nirali Patel, Natalie Saliba (Valedictorian), Lauren Boone, Caroline Overmyer, Ellen Dunklin, Jamie McGilberry and Mary M. Bradley. Not pictured is Will Key​.

Boone receives award in honor of Hope Vann

Demopolis High School Principal Blaine Hathcock and Barbara Hodge present the first Hope Vann Auxiliary Spirit Award to senior Lauren Boone. Hodge is the mother of the late Hope Vann, the beloved Demopolis High School student and auxiliary member who was killed in a car accident in December 2015.

Marengo County crash claims life of Coatopa man

A single-vehicle crash at 3:03 a.m., on May 25, claimed the life of a Coatopa man.

Damien Relot Toler, 29, was killed when the 2013 Freightliner he was driving left the roadway and struck an embankment. Toler was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash occurred on Alabama 25 near the 13 mile marker, nine miles south of Thomaston.

Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

Demopolis man dies after being struck by vehicle on Hwy. 80

On May 24, 2017, the Demopolis Police Department along with Demopolis Fire & Rescue and Amstar EMS responded to a call of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle on U.S Hwy 80 near South Finest Meats. Upon arrival, officers located a male lying in the roadway suffering from injuries from the accident. Chief Tommie J. Reese, director of public safety for the City of Demopolis said the victim was taken to Bryan Whitfield Hospital and later transferred to DCH where he died from his injuries.

The victim was identified as 80-year-old Jake Rowser of Demopolis, known to many in the community by the nickname of “Mule.”

Reese said that an eyewitness stated that the victim was crossing the highway when he was struck by an oncoming vehicle traveling west on Hwy 80.

“This was just a tragic accident that occurred and no criminal charges will be brought against the driver of the vehicle,” said Reese.

“As the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Safety, I have to warn people who are crossing any highways or streets to look both ways and sometimes, it is better to wait if you think you cannot make it across in time, just do not try it.”

Jake Rowser

Mr. Jake Rowser, age 80, of Demopolis, Alabama entered into eternal rest, Thursday, May 25, 2017 at DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Funeral services for Mr. Jake Rowser will be held Friday, June 2, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. from Larkin and Scott Mortuary Chapel 510 East Jefferson St., Demopolis, AL. Interment will follow in Memorial Cemetery, Arcola Road, Demopolis, AL. Rev. Mitchell Congress will officiate. Public viewing will be held Thursday, June 1, 2017 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the funeral home chapel. The remains will repose at the chapel one hour prior to funeral services on Friday. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

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

Damien ‘Duck’ Toler

Mr. Damien “Duck” Toler, age 29, the beloved son of Ms. Elfreda Toler of Coatopa, Alabama entered into eternal rest Thursday, May 25, 2017. Funeral services for Mr. Damien “Duck” Toler will be held Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Bethel Pine Baptist Church, 796 Sumter 22 Coatopa, Alabama; Rev. F.O. Bell, pastor; Rev. Terry Gosa, eulogist. Interment will follow in Mt. Tabor Baptist Church Cemetery, 370 Freetown Road Coatopa, Alabama. Visitation will be held Friday, June 2, 2017 from 1-5 p.m. at the funeral home chapel. The remains will repose at the church one hour prior to services. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

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

Lou Ella Jones

Ms. Lou Ella Jones, age 87 of Demopolis, Alabama entered into eternal rest Thursday, May 25, 2017 at her residence. Funeral services for Ms. Lou Ella Jones will be held Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Gilfield Baptist Church, 1900 County Road 1, Gallion, Alabama; Rev. Dewayne Charleston,pastor; Rev. Kevin Robinson,eulogist. Interment will follow in the St. Paul Baptist Church Cemetery, Gallion, Alabama. Visitation will be held Friday, June 2, 2017 from 1-5 p.m. at the funeral home chapel. The remains will repose at the church one hour prior to services. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

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

Elijah Hoggle

Elijah Hoggle, 73, of Demopolis died May 25, 2017 at Princeton Hospital. He is preceded in death by his parents Dotson and Kitty Green Hoggle; sisters Annie Pearl Keith and Margaret Jowers; and brothers Otis Hoggle, Harless Hoggle, and Edgar Hoggle. He is survived by daughters Lea Hoggle Peterson, Tracy Womer, and Tina Womer; son John Womer (Sabine); sisters Joyce Patrick, Minnie Wyatt, Katherine Britain; brothers Mervin Hoggle (Sylvia) and Paul Hoggle (Betty), and several grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 4 pm at Forkland Cemetery. The Reverend Richard Scott will be officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel will be directing. Active pallbearers will be George Patterson, Bo Hoggle, Alan Hoggle, Dane Compton, John Womer, and Kenneth White. Honorary pallbearers will be Charlie Harris, Mike Jones, Carrie Jo Parks, Staff of Woodhaven Nursing Home, and Jacob Nored.

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

Harris becomes first Demopolis Division I track signee

Darnesha Harris signs her National Letter of Intent to compete for the University of South Alabama track team as her mother, Katrina Chambers, and grandmother, Annie Harris, look on.

Darnesha Harris’s track coaches at Demopolis High School can barely contain their emotions when they talk about their senior standout.

“She’s one of a kind. You don’t come across an athlete like this every day,” Deborah Boykin, who has coached Harris in indoor and outdoor track events, said.

Harris has spent five years in the Demopolis High varsity track program but reached her greatest milestone to date Wednesday when she signed a National Letter of Intent and officially collected a track scholarship from the University of South Alabama.

“I was really excited about the opportunity for her. I’m really proud of her. No one in my family has complete college except for my sister got her two-year degree just last week. So it’s really exciting for me,” Katrina Chambers, Harris’s mother, said during a signing ceremony in the DHS library Wednesday morning. “She has been talented from day one. It’s like she breathes track. I try to talk to her about other things, but that’s what is really in her heart. She loves track.”

Darnesha Harris (center) is flanked by her mother Katrina Chambers and grandmother Annie Harris in addition to being joined by DHS track coaches Rodney Rowser and Deborah Boykin as well as athletic director Tony Pittman.

For Harris, the interest in track grew into a full-blown passion early in her Tiger career.

“It was kind of in the ninth grade when I made it to state in the 400 meter and I called my mom crying because I wasn’t able to run. My 10th grade year, I just wanted to come back. I came back my 10th grade year and I won third place in two events that I had just started,” Harris recalled. “About my 10th grade year, everything started to sink in. You don’t take things seriously when you first get to high school, but you keep practicing and practicing and you just realize, ‘Okay, I’m really good at that. I need to start taking it more serious because I can actually get somewhere.’”

A multi-sport athlete at Demopolis High School, Harris was a starter on the girls basketball team but knew what awaited her at the conclusion of the season. With strong interest already being shown by collegiate track programs, Harris committed herself to improving upon her time in a specific event with the goal of improving her options.

“I was like, ‘Okay. Okay. I’m going to set it down. I’m going to keep doing better. Maybe I can get better offers.’ Sometimes, I know if you keep getting your time down, they’ll start offering you more. So, each track meet, I tried to get a (personal record) and just tried to make myself better so I could get more offers,” Harris said of her mentality following the receipt of her first offer.

One offer already in hand, Harris set her sights on reaching a new personal best in one specific event. She needed a 44-second time in the 300 meter hurdles.

“It was our last home track meet and it was a 44.83,” Harris said of the day she reached her lofty goal. “Nobody else would probably understand because they think 45s and 46s are good, but the lower your time the better. That’s when more colleges want you. That’s when more offers start to come in.”

Offers followed rather quickly. Harris spent much of the past month deliberating between offers from Troy and South Alabama.

“I just felt that the coaches were more caring at South. They knew what they wanted me to do. They had everything together. They were more organized. They told me what they wanted to do. They gave me my offer. They didn’t waste any time trying to get to me,” Harris said of her decision.

In accepting the offer from South Alabama, Harris becomes the first Demopolis High School athlete to sign a Division I track scholarship.

“Everyday when she came to practice, you saw it in her. She was the first one out there and she was strong for the whole practice,” Boykin said. “When the weather wasn’t good or she wasn’t feeling well, she led the team. She’s just an all-around athlete.”

“Great, hard-working individual that can help any team. She will be truly missed here,” Rodney Rowser, who has coached Harris since the eighth grade, said of the Jaguars’ latest signee.

Harris’s career at Demopolis culminated May 7 at the state track meet, where she finished second among Class 5A girls in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 15.19, just one 100th of a second behind her state champion teammate Ashleigh Ivory. That race saw Harris get her cleat stuck in the starting block, resulting in her being the last competitor to get running. Still, perhaps more remarkable than getting stuck in the block and finishing second in the state is the story of her winning an indoor state championship earlier this year.

“She played a (basketball) game Thursday night. Friday morning, went to Birmingham. She came to me crying after her race. She said, ‘Coach Rod, I ran the worst race I ever ran.’ She came back home Friday and played another game. Came back to Birmingham Saturday morning. It was rough for me to tell her, ‘Darnesha, just go and compete.’ But that’s not her. She wants to go and win,” Rowser explained. “I told her, ‘Baby, look, we haven’t worked on hurdles all year. Let’s just go and get ready for outdoor season. But one thing I want you to do, when they call you over, I want you to keep moving. I went down to check on her after I told her to keep moving. I looked in her eyes and I said, ‘She’s not going just to compete. She’s going to win.’ She had the worst lane on the track.”

Harris went on to win the indoor state championship in the 60 meter hurdles despite not having practiced the event and having been in the middle of basketball season. But the feat came as no surprise to Rowser or Boykin, who each rave about the natural fluidity with which Harris has always competed.

“She came over in the eighth grade. I was sitting there watching her and I thought, ‘Who is this skinny girl?’ She was doing all these drills we do and so fluent. From that day, you could see it. It was just amazing,” Rowser said.

“She came out and did these hurdles with just incredible natural ability,” Boykin said. “She is amazing. When she is doing a 400 and she’s got someone in front of her, she’s like a predator. She keeps going and she’s so focused. It’s amazing to watch her.”

With the ink now dried on her letter of intent, Harris shifts her focus to readying for the next phase of her sprinting career.

“I have to be more serious about everything. I have to watch what I eat. I have to change my lifestyle, because if I want to be great, then I have to do what it takes to be great,” Harris said, noting that the impending challenge of extending the distance in her hurdles event dictates the need for improvements in her game. “Maybe just my strength in my arms and my legs. That would mainly just be trying to help me fight through the last 100 meters of my 400 hurdles. That’s what I need to work on.”